It was announced that Jeff Johnston, a member of the road committee, turned in his resignation citing an increased workload as the reason. Mayor Dave Erley accepted Johnston’s resignation. Erley said Johnston brought great ideas to the committee and acknowledged his concern for the valley roads, especially the main road. Mayor Erley said that the road committee still meets on a regular basis but there are several vacant positions on the committee and he invited town residents to apply to serve on the board.
The mayor said the road committee has been planning for a major flooding event in the area where Castle Valley Drive crosses over Castle Creek and could potentially wash the road out if enough water fills the washes at the upper end of the valley. When the property owner’s association purchased the 10-foot culvert and volunteers assembled it back in the early 1980s, there was room for only one culvert, but two culverts are needed to handle a potential major flood.
The road committee explored the possibility of purchasing another culvert to be stored in the event the existing culvert washes out and becomes unusable. But at a cost of $11,000, the committee couldn’t justify having the culvert sitting around idle for potentially years. Castle Valley Road Manager Greg Halliday said a new culvert would take three to four weeks for delivery. He estimated the road could be closed down for two months in the event it is washed out.
Halliday also said he is looking for several pieces of equipment to make snow removal a little easier, including a blade for the front of the grader and a plow for the dump truck. He said he travels 34 miles of roads to remove snow, when considering the round-trip, up and back, on every road, and would like to decrease the travel time. He is also looking for a diesel water truck to replace the existing gas rig that is in need of major repairs.
Mayor Erley read a letter from a resident who complained about a man carrying a gun in a holster around the mail boxes when retrieving his mail. The complainant wanted to make the mail boxes a gun-free zone.
Mayor Erley mentioned a plant sale that is taking place next month to sell the native plants collected and grown by Mary Rees, who died at her home last month. A notice posted by Mary’s daughter, Hilary, states: “Please join us for a sale of Mary Rees’ native plants. Mary was a resident of Castle Valley for over 30 years and she recently passed away. Her family will be hosting the community for a sale. All plants being sold are locally collected and grown. Some of the types of plants being sold include: Cacti, Mormon Tea, Astragalus, Penstemon, Cottonwood, Salt Bush, Mountain Mahogany, Sage Brush, Rice grass, Cliffrose, Serviceberry, and Yucca.”
The sale will take place on Mary Rees’ property in Castle Valley at 52 Lazarus Lane on Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Call Hilary at 520-429-8462 if you have further questions. The mayor was thinking specifically of the residents who were affected by the fire at the lower end of the valley last year. He said they might be interested in revegetation of the burned areas in their neighborhood.
After some discussion, the council voted to send a letter to the Grand County Council and Moab City Council supporting the renaming of Negro Bill Canyon. Erley, Tory Hill and Alice Drogin voted in favor, Jazmine Duncan opposed the motion and councilman Brooke Williams was absent. Erley said the letter would also call for a plaque to give a history of the canyon and how William Grandstaff was involved with it.
Upon the resignation of Ron Mengel as the town’s water agent, he left a letter of recommendations to the town council on the water issues. The letter, which was read by Mayor Erley, said good progress has been made in making the town a viable agent as a water supplier. The letter listed several items for consideration including a master water plan for the town.
Earlier in the month, the State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) met with the town and fire department about unclaimed roads to be settled before the land swap between SITLA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) takes place. Of interest to the town and the fire department was an 870-foot section of road between the town’s greenbelt and land owned by the Castle Valley Fire Department. Both the town and the fire department want to purchase that section of road from SITLA and each presented their case as to why each should take ownership of it during the council meeting. Joint ownership was also discussed, but the issue will be settled during future meetings. The road is important to the community because it will become an emergency access in case the only other access to the town is blocked.
In other discussions, councilwoman Alice Drogin stated that Canyonlands National Park will be observing its 50th anniversary next year and invited the town to participate in the observance of that historic event. The purple bench project, a project being initiated in Spanish Valley, south of Moab, was also discussed for Castle Valley. Council members discussed liability issues for the town and the possibility of putting a bench in Moab for those wanting to return to Castle Valley.