OIPI, council air differences in mediation

Matt Wade of Peak Mountain Guides addresses Ouray City Council, Ouray Ice Park, Inc. board of directors and mediator Andrew Gorgey at Thursday night's mediation session.

Plaindealer photo by Alan Todd

by Alan Todd

Ouray City Council and the Ouray Ice Park, Inc. board of directors (OIPI) sat down Thursday afternoon with a mediator to clear the air, identify needs and work toward a short and long-term operating agreement for the Ouray Ice Park. The two sides will come back together on March 27 for another mediation session.
The city and OIPI have been working since January 2017 to reach a new operating agreement. OIPI has operated the park under contract with the city for two decades.
Andrew Gorgey, from Glenwood Springs, who was hired by the city at $3,500 to mediate discussions between the two groups, downplayed the hurdles both sides need to clear to reach an agreement.
"On a scale of 1-to-10, in terms of complexity," he said, "I gave this problem - these conflicts - with all due respect a "4."
Gorgey said the city holds the advantage in negotiations, noting it owns the water, the land and the ability to enter into agreements for the citizenry.
"On the other hand," he said, "it is really important to understand what 23 years of volunteer commitment (by OIPI) means."
Gorgey started out by asking both parties to explain their respective ultimatums — OIPI telling the city in 2016 it no longer wanted to run the park and in 2017 the city telling OIPI to either take the park or leave it.

A time of transition
Lora Slawitschka, president of OIPI, said the board's initial rationale for asking the city to take over operations of the park in September 2016 were two-fold. The first was...

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