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Keep the faith, river trail and Oktoberfest fans

Animas River Trail users following detour directions on Wednesday used the alternate route. Those young punks not following directions, like the one seen here to the left, went over an orange plastic mesh fence and used the nice new concrete path. Action Line was once a young punk. (Action Line)

Dear Action Line: What is the status of the Animas River Trail project behind the high school? The signs say mid-June through late August, and it’s almost October. Construction is still somewhat ongoing (some days workers are there, some days not) and there seems to be no sense of urgency. Will this be done before the snow flies or are trail users and commuters going to have to deal with a half-finished project until next year? – Tired of Detouring

Dear Tired: By the time you’re reading this, it is October. Scary, eh?

Everyone knows that most construction projects finish on time and under budget. Yeah, well, that’s not really true, is it.

Originally, this project, to address some issues with draining from seeps on the hillside, as well as replace an 8-foot-wide asphalt path with a 10-foot-wide concrete path, was planned for late summer 2021.

Many readers will recall that the work was delayed on the 1,800-foot section between Rank Park and the pedestrian bridge over the river because of a mouse. There was a possibility of disturbing habitat of the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Those concerns were addressed, and work began in early June 2022.

There have been delays. Some of these were caused by that darn incessant rain that plagued us in various stretches over the last several months. Some people were all excited by the rain, but Action Line believes water is completely overrated and unnecessary and just gets in the way of everyone’s fun, not to mention trail construction.

Water. Who needs it?

So, here’s the latest on what’s ahead, courtesy of Scott McClain, assistant parks director for the city of Durango.

He broke down the work into two sections. The first section, from Rank Park north to where the driveway comes down from Durango High School, is scheduled to be done by the end of this coming week (by Oct. 7). Earthwork and reseeding are still being completed, McClain said Wednesday. To keep from closing this section entirely, either the detour or the main route is being kept open in the meantime. The new route should be open by Oct. 7 up to the driveway.

When that’s done, work will begin on the second section, from the driveway to the railroad tracks. McClain’s estimate is that work will be done by late November.

Work on the trail section from the tracks to Memorial Park at 29th Street will occur at a future date.

Stay tuned.

Dear Action Line: I’m just curious how a town with one brewery for every 10 residents, and with September weather that could curl anyone’s lederhosen, doesn’t have an Oktoberfest!? I remember back in the day the Durango Bootleggers Society put on a downtown shindig that put the “Oooo!” in the tuba’s oompa loompa! Then it got moved to Purgatory for an entire one-day, four-hour gathering? That’s barely enough time to essen a schnitzel. And now ... nussing?! That is, how they say in Bavaria, LAME-ISCH! Come on Durango, you can do better. Please do something. My Tyrol is gathering dust! – Derrick Martin

Dear Derrick: Funny question, with some style. Turns out Derrick is a former speechwriter, so he knows how to turn a phrase. Well, Action Line doesn’t mind being upstaged by the question. That’s fine. This column isn’t about Action Line. If it was, it would appear with a photo of the character who writes it and an actual name.

Oh, it does? …

Schei … Rats!

OK then, let’s mach schnell to die antwort.

It should first be pointed out that in Munich, the center of German Oktoberfest, the event runs from mid-September to very early October. So “Oktoberfest” can be a little bit misleading.

And in typical Durango fashion, said Jack Llewellyn, Durango Chamber of Commerce executive director, we celebrate Oktoberfest with the San Juan Brewfest, which is in late August. It’s a big event, and proceeds go to a good cause, the United Way.

But not everyone’s content with Brewfest, apparently.

The Durango Bootleggers Society, a consortium of local breweries, held a downtown Oktoberfest from 2004 to 2016. It took over Main Avenue until 2013, when it was moved to Buckley Park. Durango’s Business Improvement District ran the event in 2014, said BID Executive Director Tim Walsworth. BID then handed it to American General Media, which owns several radio stations in Durango. The company has ties to eight cities from San Luis Obispo, California, to Albuquerque.

Oktoberfest shifted to early October at Purgatory Resort from 2017 to 2019 or so, but COVID-19 shut it down for two years, said Tom McCullough, local account executive with American General Media. A permit was in place to host a 2022 event at Buckley, but with a local staff of three, McCullough said they realized it was too much to pull off this year.

“We are currently planning to bring the event back in 2023, so fingers crossed,” McCullough said.

Sehr gut!

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Don’t spread this around, but the truth is Action Line is now an old punk.

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