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City of Durango commits to timeline for opening new homeless camp

An earlier opening depends on the county
Mayor Sweetie Marbury announced the city could be ready to open its new homeless camp a week after receiving a commitment that La Plata County plans to close its camp.

The city of Durango committed to opening a new homeless camp adjacent to the Durango Dog Park by June 30 at the latest in a letter to the La Plata County commissioners.

La Plata County needs to provide the city only one week’s notice in order for the city’s camp to be ready.

“The idea is to get rid of the fire danger,” Mayor Sweetie Marbury said in an interview. She read the letter aloud during a Durango City Council meeting Tuesday.

It was an official response to an April 18 letter sent by La Plata County commissioners that requested specifics from the city about plans for a new camp, including the times of operation, location, rules, constraints and the ability of the camp to serve those who are physically or mentally impaired.

In the county letter, commissioners informed the city it would take 60 days to decommission the county’s camp from the date of the city’s camp opening. This could allow the two camps to operate simultaneously for 60 days.

The city’s letter states the amount of time the two camps would be open simultaneously must be limited.

In response to other questions, the city’s letter states, the new camp will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and campers would be required to pack up their campsite each morning. The fenced camp will provide a portable toilet, a dumpster and lockable, sanitized 96-gallon trash containers for campers’ belongings. It would not be accessible to those with disabilities.

The letter does not list the rules that would govern the camp. It states the rules would be reflective of the site’s overnight-only nature and they will be amended as needed.

This week, the county is opening a new camp in a flat area clear of vegetation to address fire danger.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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