RAWLINS — Portions of Tully Park are officially on their way out of city control, as a deal between the City of Rawlins and Memorial Hospital of Carbon County would see part of the park exchanged for the part of the nurses’ dormitory.
“It’s a win-win for us and for the hospital,” said Danielle Gross, operation manager for Rawlins.
According Gross, the park exchange benefits the city by eliminating maintenance on a large section of Tully Park while also formalizing the boundaries of Washington Park.
Gross emphasized the deal does not eliminate Tully Park, as the playground and signature train will remain under city control after the exchange.
As for the new park, Gross said the area east of the nursing dormitory, while officially under the control of county government, has long been treated as a cross-street extension of Washington Park, with the park’s frisbee golf course having several holes in the area.
The land, separated from Washington Park by W. Walnut Street, has always been under the ownership of the hospital, but the city undertook maintenance responsibility several years ago, according to Scott Hannum, Rawlins city manager. Hannum said the county asked Rawlins to take over the area’s maintenance due to low staff and budget for the small plot.
Hannum further said he was unsure if anyone realized the property belongs to the county rather than the city.
“We get the phone calls when it’s brown,” said Hannum.
According to Hannum, the city had discussed outright buying the plot in previous years, but former Mayor Robert Grauberger suggested swapping portions of Tully Park. Hannum said the reasoning behind this decision was the area was similar in size and allowed the city to take possession of the land without burdening the city’s budget.
Though the deal would eventually allow the city to cut its maintenance at Tully Park, Hannum said the park would be maintained as currently stands until the hospital decides how to use their newly acquired land.
“It just seems like the right thing to do,” said Hannum.
When asked if the loss of part of Tully Park would affect the residents, Hannum said the park will retain the major portions of the park, such as the playground and the train, at the expense of the open field.
“We have a lot of green spaces that people can recreate in,” Hannum further said.
According to Gross, the project will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission in early June, where the city will present their proposed changes in and around Tully Park.
Gross said the redrawing the park’s boundaries in preparation for the land trade with the hospital has given the city an opportunity to “clean up” the area. Gross said the Tully Park area has several sections where reality does not match the boundaries set.
These changes will also divide the park into several, separate regions, with one of the newly formed areas being traded to the hospital.
The redrawing of Tully Park’s borders requires approval from the council and a second round of approval from the planning and zoning commission before the park is ready to trade.
Once the new boundaries are officially approved, the city and hospital can move forward with the final signatures, exchanging part of Tully Park for the de facto borders of Washington Park.
As this process requires multiple board approvals, Gross estimates the deal would not likely be concluded until August at the earliest, but unforeseen complications during the remainder of the approval process could push back the timeline.
Gross foresaw no issues arising from the upcoming exchange, but encouraged Rawlins residents to come to the future meetings to express their opinion on the new park boundaries.
According to hospital spokesperson Stephanie Malcolm, no plans have been developed for Memorial Hospital of Carbon County’s new land.