Jed presented South Main’s matching funds for the most recent Buena Vista river park GOCO Grant at the January 11, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting. Here’s the letter he read.
Dear Town of Buena Vista Board of Trustees,
It has been 8 years since the meeting when my sister Katie and I first approached this board to propose building the greatest whitewater park in the country. In that meeting I was merely 24 years old and was wearing a t-shirt, flip-flops and board shorts, too naive to know what I was getting myself into. At that time the dream was simple, build a great whitewater park, have a place to eat, drink and live. Here we are in 2011 and that dream has come true.
To that end, this letter of appreciation is to thank everyone who has been a part of making this dream become a reality, as we could have never done it alone. First and foremost, I thank the Town and the supporting elected officials that have remained steadfast on the vision and for their contribution of time and money over the years. I also thank the County for their financial contributions. I thank the town staff, especially Roy Gertson, who has been a huge part of the process from the very beginning. I also thank Christine DeChristopher who played an integral part in helping with the most recent grant writing and implementation. I also thank my sister Katie and my brother-in-law Dustin who have spent countless hours writing both grants and being successful at making it all come together; without Katie, this would have never happened. Other contributors of great value have been Earl Richmond of CKS, Keith and Evelyn Baker at the Trailhead, Eric Gibb and the entire BV Whitewater Park Committee, Mike Harvey as the lead designer and project manager and many others.
To briefly summarize the successful highlights of the project, a grassroots group of people built the first play wave on a shoestring budget just upstream of the foot bridge in 2002, and it was slightly modified again in 2003, to make our first excellent play spot. In 2005 South Main donated our river front property to the Town and wrote a grant to GOCO that was awarded to build the next 3 play spots and improve the trail system to its current state. In 2008, another grant was written to fund the newest play wave at the bottom and its adjacent bank work and to build the Buena Vista Boulder Garden and Town Square Boulder. In total ~$388,000 of capital has been awarded from GOCO, The Town has invested ~$53,000 of cash as well as dedicated staff time. In addition to the land, South Main donated ~$53,000 cash and in-kind donations exceeding $100,000. The County has invested $10,000 and the BVWP, the local dirt bag kayaker group, has amazingly risen ~$35,000. Said and done the total project cost has been ~$1,042,000 including everything. This project is a shining example of how we can all obtain exceptional results and leverage our limited resources when we work together as a community to get things done.
One question I hear from time to time is why we are spending money on things like a River Park in this economy. My response is that I see the money spent on the River Park not simply as expense, but as an investment. It is this type of investment that not only increases the value of our Town but is the type of investment that makes people want to live here, visit here, open businesses here and invest here. In my view, the River Park is an amenity that very few places have to offer and nowhere has one better. The Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery is an example of one such business that cites the River Park as a primary reason for choosing BV.
But more important than the financial aspect of the River Park, it offers a place to go and recreate or just have some peace and quiet from everyday life. It is a place that I visit and enjoy everyday and it makes life better. The experience of running into people on the trail and the ability to access nature and adventure so easily is priceless.
It is with great honor and gratitude that I award this check for $22,995 to the Town of Buena Vista for the second phase of the Buena Vista River Park Project. I am thrilled by how great the park is now and I look forward to further partnership and to accomplishing more great things in the future.
Jed W. Selby
Co-founder and President
South Main Development Inc.
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