In commemoration of veterans and those lost in combat, City Park in Cortez has been renamed Veterans Park.
Cortez City Council approved the park renaming at its regular meeting Tuesday night, which was attended by several rows of veterans and their families.
“It’s a fitting tribute to not just these families that have lost their members in combat operations, but it’s also a fitting tribute to all the veterans, their family members and especially their surviving spouses,” said Rick Torres, the county’s veteran service officer.
He added that a little more than 8% of Montezuma County residents are veterans.
The council unanimously approved the resolution 6-0. Councilor Ty Keel was absent.
Initially, community members suggested to city staff members that an outdoor facility be named in tribute to Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in March, said Dean Palmquist, director of parks and recreation.
Others posed the idea of renaming City Park to Veterans Park and creating a space at the park for a memorial wall, honoring service members who died in combat.
“Memorials already exist at City Park for our military veterans with a bell and a flag display,” Palmquist said. “Upon sharing this idea with Grant and Tammy Lindsay, they approved of the idea and thought that was an appropriate way to honor their son, where Will served in Special Forces and did not want to draw attention to himself or others serving with him.”
The city plans to work with local veterans organizations to establish the memorial wall. John Davis of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post read aloud a letter on behalf of his organization, supporting the name change and pledging assistance for the proposed memorial.
“There may be responsibilities that come with the name change, such as a memorial wall being built,” Davis said. “We, as Montezuma County spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings, and children and grandchildren of service men and women would be honored to assist in any way our organization can, to fulfill the plans of and help maintain the structure of said memorial.”
Councilor Jill Carlson added that the name change should be seen as more than a symbolic gesture, encouraging residents and officials to recognize the issues facing local veterans.
“This is a great first step toward awareness, but we have people actively facing challenges in our community,” she said. “And as a city, I think we should really commit to identifying those issues and really showing these people the respect and thanks that they deserve.”
Councilor Carlson steps down, and other newsCouncilor Jill Carlson announced she will step down from Cortez City Council. She said she has taken on a part-time job with the tribe on top of having two existing businesses and wouldn’t be able to fully commit to the time demands of council.“Respectfully, I have to step down, because unfortunately with these new positions, I cannot devote the time to this position that I feel like it deserves,” she said. “And so tonight will be my last meeting.”
She thanked her fellow councilors and encouraged other residents to run for office.
The council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a new hemp oil extraction facility in the Industrial Park.The new facility looks to open at 1480 Industrial Road and would deal solely with hemp.
“We’re really lucky, because Colorado is one of the No. 1 places in America for hemp,” said Marlyn Nunez, one of the applicants.
She added there are nearly 50 registered hemp farmers in Montezuma County.
“We have a ton of hemp farmers, but there’s not a lot of people that are extracting it,” she said.
This was a resubmitted application, providing additional information about odor mitigation, said associate city planner Neva Connolly.
“The applicant has provided four mitigation techniques to contain odor on site, including air purifiers and filters within the hemp storage room, storage of hemp in odor-proof and sealed bags, and storage of the hemp on the farm from which it is harvested,” she said at the meeting.
They will use carbon dioxide to extract the hemp, because it is safer than the alternate methods of propane and butane, Nunez said.
The council set fees for the electric vehicle charging station set to be located at the Cortez Welcome Center.For the first four hours, drivers will be charged $1 per hour, and after those hours are up, an additional parking fee will be charged at a rate of $5 per hour.
The council unanimously approved a resolution allowing the Cortez Water Dragons swim team to raise money for the replacement of the 50-meter starting blocks at the Municipal Outdoor Pool.Currently, the starting blocks are not usable, and the team can’t hold a 50-meter swim meet, Mara Baxstrom, president of the Water Dragons, said at a work session before the regular meeting. In the past, that has been a draw for other neighboring teams – the Cortez 50-meter pool is one of only two in the region, Baxstrom said.
“Neither the Cortez Water Dragons swim team nor does the city of Cortez have funding available for the replacement of the starting blocks, anchors and concrete decking on the west side of the outdoor swimming pool,” Palmquist said.
The team hopes to raise $30,000 to $35,000 to replace the starting blocks, anchors and concrete decking on the west end of the pool.
The council approved the first reading of new revisions to the city’s existing marijuana code.The revisions come after Judge Todd Plewe recently reversed the city’s denial of the NuVue Pharma application to open a marijuana dispensary at 503 Patton St. The revisions, City Attorney Mike Green said, were in the works before NuVue’s application submittal, but respond to clarifications sought by the judge in his recent court order.
“There are very few changes,” Green said.
The main issues turn on who should be permitted to speak at a public hearing regarding a license application, and what Cortez defines as a “neighborhood under consideration,” in order to determine which residents would be affected by a prospective marijuana shop.
“What we did add is we declared the ‘neighborhood’ to be the entire city of Cortez,” Green said. “And we set forth who can speak at these public hearings regarding a license application. And that would be residents (of the city), persons who own businesses or real estate in the city who live outside the city.”
The revisions also would allow for retail marijuana manufacturing within city limits.
The vote was 4-2, with councilors Gary Noyes and Sue Betts voting against the revisions. The ordinance will move to a second reading and public hearing Jan. 14.