Oak Creek drops condemnation suit | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek drops condemnation suit

Susan Cunningham

The town of Oak Creek has abandoned its efforts to condemn 0.11 acres of private land needed for its ice rink in part because it cannot condemn land and still accept a grant to fund the project.

The effort to build a roof over Oak Creek’s rink is funded in part with a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. Late last week, the organization notified the town that it does not allow those funds to be used for projects that are connected to a condemnation.

“In general, we think that the ice rink project in Oak Creek is terrific, and GOCo is eager to participate,” said Greg Romberg, a GOCo board member. “We just need to make sure that land isn’t acquired through condemnation.”

The town’s attorney, Bob Weiss, said that the town learned of GOCo’s rule Friday and immediately asked to drop the suit. The town also was willing to drop the suit because property owner Joe Foreman was willing to sell the town the land, Weiss said.

The town was not aware of the condemnation rule before it was contacted by GOCo, and Weiss was not aware that the project involved a GOCo grant, he said.

“When it was brought to our attention, we dismissed the case,” Weiss said.

The town is hoping to work with the property owner to buy the 20-foot-wide piece of land soon, he said.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll get this wrapped up with the property owner shortly,” Weiss said.

According to GOCo’s amended constitution, “No moneys received by any state agency … shall be used to acquire real property by condemnation through the power of eminent domain.”

Oak Creek’s condemnation hearing would have been held at 11 a.m. today.

Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman said Monday that before filing the condemnation suit, the town was not aware of GOCo’s rules related to condemnation. She did not offer any other comments when asked whether the town had been contacted by GOCo or whether the town dropped the suit because of GOCo’s condemnation rules.

Oak Creek is constructing a permanent roof over its hockey rink. The roof would protect the rink from snow and sun and would give skaters more time on the ice.

The town needs Foreman’s strip of land to make sure the ice rink is on its property and to get the building permits it needs to comply with building codes. To take advantage of the availability of volunteer workers this month, the town has started building the new roof without permits.

The town began the condemnation process Nov. 10 because conversations with the landowner had stopped, Rodeman has said. The town had previously offered Foreman $2,000 for the land.

If Foreman wishes, Rodeman said early Monday, the town can get an appraisal of the property.

Last Thursday, the Town Board approved going ahead with the condemnation process. Of all trustees present, only trustee Mike Kien voted against it.

Rodeman originally estimated that the project would cost about $400,000, but now is estimating a cost of $600,000. Most of that cost will be paid through donated time and materials, with some donations from the town and others making up the rest.

— To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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