Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Commissioners discuss development of old county airport property


September 5, 2019

Lara Love

A discussion regarding future development of the old airport property was among the items covered at Tuesday's meeting of the Hot Springs County Commissioners.

Different ideas on redevelopment of the property were looked at three years ago and although several recommendations were made, nothing ever came of them, mostly, chairman Tom Ryan said, was because there was no one to step up and spearhead any project.

Ryan believes with the changes coming to Hot Springs State Park, specifically the state requiring a long-term lease with their vendors that now would be an opportune time to perhaps coordinate with them on some kind of project.

"You can have all the meetings in the world," Ryan said, "but if no one is going to be the pusher, then nothing happens."

While the commissioners don't believe an additional employee would be necessary, perhaps teaming up with another company that does this kind of thing would be a better idea.

There is $10,000 set aside for development at this time and Ryan says there are some state legislators that are definitely behind getting the State Park to the point of being the "jewel" of their park system, so now would be a good time to start.

County Road and Bridge Supervisor Dave Shlager told the commissioners he's had eight applicants for the mechanics position that is open and hopes to start having interviews next week.

In the mean time, the crews have been doing some blading on the county roads. They have been put behind in their mowing because the tractor is currently being worked on and a single part is holding up the repair.

Schlager intends to start asking around about renting a mower in the interim to get caught up.

Maintenance supervisor Anthony Fruciano said he spent part of last week testing all the panic alarms in the courthouse and other county and town facilities and found the two alarms at the HOPE Agency have been lost or are somehow missing since the new facility was built.

The system is actually antiquated and the county's IT specialist was supposed to be looking into a new system. Before putting new ones in at the HOPE Agency, the county needs to figure out who is actually supposed to be responsible for them at each building, the town or the county.

Fruciano also told the commissioners he's looking into a contract with a company out of Billings that would come down and check over and do maintenance on the three county generators.

A recent service call from the company was nearly double what the cost for a yearly contract would be and the commissioners agreed it was something he needed to pursue.

All of the county buildings have now been inspected for roof damage from the hail storms this summer, and Fruciano said the Senior Center had a couple of dings that were easily patched, as did the museum.

The courthouse, library and LEC buildings on the other hand were going to need replaced. He will be calling in the insurance adjustor to take a more thorough look.

The commissioners would like to see rubberized roofs like the one on the annex building as replacements. In addition, they will be contacting Nelson Architects, the company that helped oversee the Senior Center project to take a look at things and oversee this project as well before any bids are put out.

The state is requiring a written gun policy for county buildings according to Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Gordon.

Gordon told the commissioners he is planning on speaking with the judges in each of the courtrooms to determine what course of action they would like to see included in the plan along with the desires of the various department heads in the courthouse. He is also checking with other counties to see what they are planning.

Once he has gathered that information he will put it together to present to the commissioners for their approval and order the appropriate signage for the building.

Al Braaten with Wellspring Counseling asked the commissioners to sign a letter endorsing their merger with High Country Behavioral Health.

According to Braaten, Wellspring has been struggling financially for several years and the merger with High Country will help immensely. Wellspring will still be Wellspring, they will just be a satellite of High Country.


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