In 2013 The Keepers of the Patos Light began a special fund to replace the flag pole. We found a contractor to provide a bid, and began to raise the money. The contractor moved away, so we had to look for another one. The second contractor left his business and found a better paying, more stable job. When the third contractor began planning for the actual construction, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had a number of concerns. One was the use of volunteers. BLM decided that no volunteers should be engaged in helping, as the contractor needed to be held responsible for all actions, and everyone needed to be certified to conduct the work. Another requirement was that the psi of the concrete needed to be 3,000 lbs. BLM wanted distilled water used in making the concrete, which had to be hauled to the site, and stainless steel for the hardware in the concrete. Then there was BLM concern about caring for the sidewalks during construction. Finally, BLM wanted to have their engineer on hand observing all of the construction. Consequently, the $7,000 on hand was seriously insufficient to cover the more than $22,000 in the new bid costs.
San Juan County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) determined that they could not fund the flag pole since it was a permanent improvement not county property. However, they were willing to cover basic or “start-up” costs of the Keepers of the Patos Light in a grant, so that regular funds could be saved for the flag pole. Two years of LTAC funding did allow us to save enough money, so we began to make plans for construction.
BLM advised us that they had complaints about allowing a flag to be raised, and determined that we needed to wait until a Resource Management Plan (RMP) was signed later that year, which would determine whether the flag pole should be built. It has been four years and still the RMP has not been signed. Should the final signed plan determine the flag pole can be constructed in the original place, there are still other government requirements to meet. The original 4(f) statement is now dated, and would need to be repeated to allow construction on the National Register of Historic Places site. That requires a determination of “no effect” by the state Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Then a statement must be rewritten in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act, probably a “no significant impact,” followed by a public review and hearing, should one be requested.
If a flag pole is approved, we will need to acquire a new proposal and bid with the additional requirements before we can sign a contract to have the flag pole built in the original location.
For a list of those generous donors contributing to the building of our new flag pole, click here.