All of us, the Ouray Ice Park Board (OIPI), city representatives and many community members, have been pondering, working or waiting to see what strategy may be taken for the operation of the Ouray Ice Park and Ouray Ice Festival for the upcoming season and near future. For a variety of reasons, the process has been neither timely nor ideal, and we would like to convey our appreciation for the community’s patience and ongoing faith in our involvement in this process.
Our board has had many recent meetings and we remain positive that there is a current strategic solution. While some may be curious how we got to this point, we feel it is most important to focus on solutions and to put the past behind us in order to move forward swiftly and correctly.
Our original plan was always to support the City of Ouray to take over the Ice Park starting this year and also for the long term. However, despite numerous meetings between both entities, the tasks and decisions required to effectively transition the Ice Park to city leadership have proven too difficult to manage in the time available. As a result, OIPI feels that success in the upcoming climbing season will require an extension agreement between the city and OIPI.
We can all agree that the Ice Park is a critical asset to the community and that the community would be best served by the development of a future plan providing long term Ice Park sustainability. The current volunteer-driven model of management and funding is not sustainable. A new strategy is required. The extension agreement that we will be presenting to the city and the community will have specific parameters to assist in fashioning this long term sustainability model. Items such as facilitated meetings, milestones and benchmarks, community involvement, checks and balances, etc., all must be included for OIPI to agree to operate another year under the existing model. A new tact is needed and it will require community involvement, diligent forward progress from the city, continued direction from OIPI and professional facilitation.
The OIPI board feels it is in the community’s best interest to support an extension agreement strategy. However, we are not willing to enter into another year under the same strategy without a clear and well-documented plan that obligates all parties to specific provisions. OIPI’s agreement to operate for this next season will allow everyone in the community to breathe a sigh of relief. The community of Ouray and the ice climbing industry can benefit from another year to spend participating in the creation of a well-thought plan for the future, with a proven entity in the driver’s seat.
If the community of Ouray wants the upcoming Ice Park season to be successful, and they also see that OIPI should fulfill the leadership role in the near future, then we absolutely must have the entire community’s support both philosophically and financially. We at OIPI would like to thank the ice climbing community again for its patience, and we will continue to encourage everyone’s participation in this upcoming process.
Ouray Ice Park Board of Directors