Westside Briefs:
Weed-eating goats in time for festival

       Weed-eating goats will add another element to the first-time Great Parks Festival Saturday, Sept. 24.
       According to Char Nymann of the Bear Creek Garden Association, from 90 to 100 of Lani Malmberg's specialized goat herd from Wyoming will arrive that morning or the night before and already be at work by the time the festival starts at 10 a.m.
       The event, sponsored by the Trails and Open Space Coalition and El Paso County Parks, will have free activities in Bear Creek Regional Park on both sides of 21st Street, as well as in the Dog Park at 21st and Rio Grande streets, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
       Nymann herself is scheduled to give a talk on the weed-eating goats in Pavilion 4 (east of 21st Street) as part of the festival at 11 a.m., she said.
       During their 10-day visit - as they have the past two autumns - the goats will graze in areas with noxious weeds in a 19-acre area buffering the association's 2-acre community garden near the El Paso County Parks building southeast of 21st and Rio Grande streets.
       Nymann said the association is still fundraising in hopes of being able to afford up to 500 goats. Last year, there were 800, at a cost of about $6,000, but donations have been harder to come by this year, she said.
       Also last year, the goats were hired on additional properties - whose owners in turn helped the association with the Wyoming-to-Colorado goat-transportation costs - but such arrangements have not occurred so far this year, Nymann said.
       Interest in Spruce building
       No sale is imminent for a former El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS) building at 105 N. Spruce St., despite an item on the Sept. 1 county commissioners agenda for an "executive session regarding possible sale" of the property.
       "The county has received one unsolicited offer for that building and the commissioners provided some guidance on possible negotiating strategies during an executive session, but no action was taken," county spokesperson Dave Rose explained this week. "The county is open to offers on those facilities, but is waiting for better market conditions before actively soliciting offers."
       According to the County Assessor's Office, the property consists of 2.44 acres, and its four-story building, constructed in 1972, has 64,640 square feet.
       DHS relocated last March to the newly designated Citizens Service Center at 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. The 105 N. Spruce building has been vacant since then, along with a neighboring building (also formerly used by the DHS) at 17 N. Spruce.
       Transit draft plan on view
       Public comments on a draft plan update for Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT), the city's bus system, are being accepted through Oct. 14.
       Called the "2035 Public Transportation Plan Update" for MMT, the draft recommends a strategy for meeting existing and future transit needs.
       The draft is available on the city's website. Comments on the draft can be sent to transitinfo@springsgov.com.
       People needing a paper copy or other information can call MMT at 385-7439.
       Clark on national boards
       El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark (also a Westside resident and business owner), has been appointed to four committees and one commission for the National Association of Counties (NACo).
       Through July 2012, she will be a member of the NACo Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee (and will also serve as its Court Subcomittee chair), Programs and Services Standing Committee, Large Urban County Caucus Steering Committee, Membership Standing Committee and the Arts and Culture Commission.
       Clark has served on the Justice and Public Safety Committee since becoming a commissioner in 2005.
       NACo provides legislative, research, technical and public affairs assistance to county governments and advocates county issues to the federal government.
       Clark said that her involvement with NACo helps to "foster relationships with our Congressional delegation and committee members in order to reduce mandates and regulations, provide input on laws that affect our citizens and advocate for critical projects (such as the Cimarron and I-25 interchange)."

Westside Pioneer/press releases