Early Iron to withdraw Motorway request

ALAMOSA — Following blowback from last week's city council meeting, it was announced at Wednesday's Alamosa County Commissioners meeting that the Early Iron Club would likely withdraw its request for the Rio Grande Motorway building.

Alamosa County Administrator Gigi Dennis reported the news during the board and staff updates portion of the meeting in the afternoon.

"I talked to Jeff Woodward and Jeff had said he would like to withdraw the offer," Dennis said. "He was very vocal, saying this was all in the good spirit of Early Iron and wanting to do something positive for the community.

"He said that in no way did he mean to cause a ruckus and the negativity that was provoked by the discussion by the city."

Dennis also said that the situation has caused speculation of Woodward stepping down from the Alamosa Local Marketing District board.

Following a presentation by the Early Iron Club, the marketing board had voted last month to donate the Motorway building to the club, a decision that generated some concern during last week’s city council meeting.

In an interview the following day, Woodward said if the building donation was going to create controversy, the club would not pursue it. Woodward is the president of the Early Iron Club and sits on the marketing board but said he did not participate in the discussion or vote. Matt Beckner served as the chairman of the Early Iron Club Building Committee and presented the club’s vision for the Motorway building to the marketing district board. Club members want to convert the building into something for the club and the entire community to use, he said, such as a site for specialty Early Iron classes as well as community events like family reunions and the Farmers Market on bad-weather days.

As owner of the building, the marketing board was the first group the club approached, Beckner explained during an interview last week.

Beckner said the club did not ask for the building to be donated, but when the marketing board discussed the club’s presentation, the board stated the club’s vision for the building was in line with its own and voted to donate the building.

Beckner said the club knew that after the marketing district board’s vote, the matter would proceed to the county commissioners, and club members planned to make their presentation to the commissioners next.

“In no way are we trying to do any backdoor dealings,” Beckner said.

The commissioners on Wednesday expressed interest in a future work session with the marketing district board, which is self-operating but was created by the county.

"We need to address somehow what should be required going forward in terms of assuring transparency," said Alamosa County Commissioner Helen Sigmond.

"I think it's a good idea to sit down with the marketing board so we're all on the same page," Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen added.

The marketing district board will likely make a formal decision during its meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at 610 State Avenue.