Before New Castle considers allowing golf carts and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on its streets, the small town wants plenty of input from its residents first.
“We want to introduce some social capital with this situation by involving the community,” Mayor Art Riddile said.
That social capital will come in the form of an open house meeting from 6:30–8 p.m. Thursday, June 6, in the New Castle Community Center (423 W. Main St.).
“What we are doing is just providing information. We are not looking to make a decision on this [Thursday], we just want to achieve community input as to whether there is interest or opposition to this idea,” Riddile explained of the reason behind the open house.
Earlier this year, Councilman Scott Owens brought up the idea of possibly letting golf carts access the town’s streets after community members had pitched the idea to him.
The discussion then morphed into also including OHVs, too.
Garfield County already allows OHVs to travel on permitted county roads.
“I think the whole idea came from how do we keep connected as we continue to build and grow,” Owens said. “Any opportunity we have to make that happen I think is worth exploring. …Golf carts, off-highway vehicles just provide another opportunity for us to enjoy how we live in New Castle.”
At this point the Town Council has not passed or even considered an ordinance concerning the matter but instead has directed town staff to look into its feasibility.
Town Administrator David Reynolds said that staff had researched what other towns and municipalities in the state, which already allow golf carts and OHVs on their streets, did with respect to rules and regulations.
“Honestly, most of our research is going to be this open house and continued conversations with our residents,” Reynolds said. “The purpose of the open house is not to try and sway people one way or another but to gather public input.”
According to Reynolds, the open house would feature a few displays as well as town staff and councilors on hand to answer questions.
Additionally, attendees may fill out question and answer comment forms as well.
“Staff will be able to organize this feedback and then council can decide whether it wants to pursue this or not pursue this,” Reynolds said. “But that’s a little bit down the road.”
Should it decide that it does want to pursue allowing golf carts and OHVs on the town’s streets, council would then need to consider an ordinance at a later date.
“I like the idea of not having to get back in your car when you get home from work and being able to cruise downtown, or to the grocery store or to a friend’s house through a different type of transportation,” Owens said. “The input from the community is really what it is all about. We do not ever want to make council decisions in a bubble based on what seven people want.”