SOUTH FORK— During the end of the month meeting of the South Fork Board of Trustees on Aug. 22, the board passed a resolution to amend the budget to accommodate a change request for due diligence with the possible purchase of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. South Fork, in partnership with Rio Grande County and the City of Creede, have been working together to try and come up with funds to possibly purchase the line for future use from owner Don Shank.
According to the report provided to the board of trustees it states, “The towns of South Fork and Creede, and the counties of Mineral and Rio Grande have been pursuing the potential acquisition of the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad. Representatives from the various local governments and landowners along the corridor have met periodically over the last year. The local governments have also been in contact with various non-profit organizations regarding potential participation. While the current owner of the Denver Rio Grande Railroad is a willing seller and has been cooperating, the local governments and others involved agree that proper due diligence is required before moving forward.”
The report continued, “In prior discussions with the board, it was estimated that due diligence would likely cost approximately $80,000 and it was estimated that each stakeholder would need to contribute approximately $10,000. Rio Grande County applied for and received a Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) program through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for funding to assist in the due diligence. Rio Grande County has also sought out and received funding from private foundations to support this effort. The South Fork Board of Trustees approved Resolution 17-10 on May 23, 2017 supporting this effort.
Rio Grande County, on behalf of the towns of South Fork and Creede, and Mineral County put out a request for proposals (RFP) for the due diligence. Three firms responded to the RFP: R.L. Banks & Associates, RMI Midwest and SGM. Representatives from of each of the jurisdictions reviewed the responses and conducted a phone interview with each firm. As a result of the phone interviews, a request for additional information from each firm that responded was requested by Rio Grande County.
The representatives from the towns of South Fork and Creede, and the counties of Mineral and Rio Grande met on Aug. 15, 2017 and selected R.L. Banks and Associates as the firm that would best meet our needs. The total not to exceed cost to complete the due diligence by R.L. Banks is $120,950. RMI Midwest estimate was similar to that of R.L. Banks, and both firms have experience in working on projects such as this SGM’ s experience in doing this type of work is not as vast as that of RMI Midwest and R.L. Banks.”
Board members voted to pass Ordinance 17-05 to amend the current budget to allow, “An amendment is made to the 2017 budget of the Town of South Fork, Colo. for the expenditure of the funds from the Conservation Trust Fund and the General Fund in the amount of $12,738. The funds are to be used to hire R. L Banks and Associates to conduct due diligence in the acquisition of the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad – Creede Branch.” The motion carried and was passed unanimously by the board of trustees.