The Saratoga Sun -

Poll a people pull

Riversiders show up to WHATFest discussion


There were not many free seats available at the Riverside Town Council meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. because residents had come to discuss the recent poll on WHATFest.

The council went over routine business, paid the bills and listened to the audience’s concerns.

Ron Bedwell, proprietor of Cottonwood Cabins, voiced issues with how the contractor had done the job on Fourth St.

“The street was rough when he left the job and it is my understanding the street should have been left in as good a condition when he started, if not better,” Bedwell said.

Mayor Leroy Stephenson agreed with Bedwell’s assessment the street should have been left in the condition the contractor found the road.

Bedwell said the problem was lack of compaction.

Fred Lorenz, town council member, said he was going to tell the contractor to come back and redo the job.

Another issue was raised by Bedwell.

“Prospect to Smelter on Fourth Street, which is not an established street, but it is a street right of way, needs to be cleaned out so there is access,” Bedwell said. “There are logs piled on it, horse trailers and campers parked on it and it is not a new situation.”

Bedwell said his concern is it keeps accumulating and continues to block the right of way.

“I don’t have a problem with people using the streets to store things for a little while, but this has been going on for years and years,” Bedwell said.

Jan Cook, town clerk, said she would send a letter to the residents using the street to let them know of the town’s concern about the situation on the street.

The topic that brought people to the council meeting was the WHATFest poll results.

Of the 39 residents in Riverside, 31 responded—with 21 in favor, one indifferent and nine opposed.

The public attendees at the meeting were all opposed to the WHATFest.

Several people in the audience spoke of attendees being naked in public, using yards as bathrooms, parking illegally and leaving trash on residents’ property.

“If you live on First and Second Street, you have to put up with this,” Bedwell said. “It is just no good.”

The attendees mentioned lack of law enforcement and an attendee said she saw a Facebook posting for WHATFest indicating the event was police-free for three days.

Stephenson said he was not sure WHATFest would be back next year in Riverside. The organizers would decide in February and it was possible the event would move to another location. The Lions Club in Encampment has offered to host WHATFest at the rodeo grounds.

If WHATFest came back, Stephenson said the way to address the problem was in the ordinances.

“But before we could start work on any ordinances, we needed to know what the town thought and that is why we put out the poll,” Stephenson said. “The ones who are in favor or indifferent, aren’t here, so we needed to hear from the people who are opposed. Then we can take it from there.”

Stephenson said the town needed to have ordinances for these special events and the council would look at what was feasible before the next meeting.

“What we have to do as a town council is decide what we are going to do with our ordinances to address the problems, so we have the solutions in place before it returns,” Stephenson said.

The second reading of the liquor license revisions was passed and Brad Hebig, from High Plains Foam Building Systems was awarded the town’s snow removal contract.

The next scheduled meeting of Riverside Town Council will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Riverside Town Hall.


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