Army visits Trinidad City Council, gives Piñon Canyon update

Army visits Trinidad City Council, gives Piñon Canyon update

by Bill Knowles

TRINIDAD — A contingent of officers from Fort Carson visited Trinidad last Thursday to give the city council an update on the activities and training currently taking place at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site and to award Mayor Phil Rico with a Certificate of Appreciation for his efforts in extending goodwill between the City of Trinidad and the 4th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Carson.

The presentation was given by Colonel Simmering, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Armored Brigade and consisted of a video highlighting some of the training the Army is engaged in at both Fort Carson and the maneuver site. It showed clips of live fire from various assault vehicles and tanks, troops working in the field and receiving specialized individual training, and some of the conditions encountered by troops while in the field.

This was all later translated into the idea of “…maintaining the highest levels of… readiness at all times,” according to Simmering.

Following the video, the colonel made the presentation of the certificate Rico. During the presentation the colonel spoke about the quality of training at both Ft. Carson and especially at Piñon Canyon. He thanked the city council and the people of Trinidad for their hospitality.

He then took questions from the city council with council member Carlos Lopez asking the colonel what he is looking for from the city as far as council is concerned.

“We have to continue to communicate. It’s important for us (the Army). You have expectations in terms of what’s going to happen in the future. Two: Finding those places where we can complement each other in our efforts,” said the colonel.

Council member Joe Bonato, addressing the issue on the importance of good communications, asked about the Army speaking with the county commission during their regular meeting last week concerning the use of the fair grounds for training purposes and how that proposal started and then moved to the county commission, “Because it fell out of the sky,” Bonato said.

“And the second question is: has there been any other meetings between the county and the army or any other types of communications between the army and city hall or city staff?

“That’s one problem we have as a community how did this evolve? What I’m saying is that the city has to get involved with the army and the city has to get involved with the county to make sure everything is going properly. I just don’t like things going behind other things and being pushed forward, all of a sudden it appears to us… So was there any communication, as far as you know, with the city, city manager, the city clerk with the Army?”

Simmering said that he was “entirely unqualified to answer that question”.

Bonato said back, “That doesn’t help me at all, sir. People in this community want to know that’s why we have meetings like this. I’m not being disrespectful but I’m a little upset with the Army and what’s transpired…”

“I can take that concern back to the garrison commander and he can come down here and address directly those concerns with you,” the colonel said. “But if you want to be hostile and get an answer right now, I can’t.”

“I’m not being hostile, sir, I’m asking a question,” Bonato said. In reference to the rental of the fair grounds, the mayor said, “There was no discussion with the city on that.”

The meeting lasted over an hour and was adjourned at about 4:10 pm.

Colonel Simmering (L) shakes hands with City of Trinidad Mayor Phil Rico after handing him the Certificate of Appreciation on Thursday Sept. 6, 2018 at city hall. Photo by Bill Knowles