Monticello will name Big 4 building after Winn Westcott
Updated: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified ENYO as the city's solar pannel partner on the swimming pool project. AES is the entity offering solar pannels to the city.
At their latest meeting, the Monticello City Council once again explored the use of solar panels to power the city pool, and made a plan to name a structure after the resident who advocated for it to be built.
Members of the Monticello City Council agreed with the sentiments of presenters and community members at their March 1 meeting regarding naming the building that houses the Big 4 Tractor on Main Street.
The council agreed that the garage that houses the Big 4 tractor should be renamed to honor Winn Westcott. Project details, including a bid for the signage, remains to be finalized
Westcott, who passed away in November 2021, was a passionate advocate for the restoration and promotion of the Big 4 Tractor in Monticello.
Presenting at the meeting was Monticello resident Steve Young. Young shared the history of the tractor and the project.
The nine-ton tractor was likely built sometime between 1907 and 1912 and brought to the area in 1912, where is was used on area farms until 1962. That year, it was purchased by the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, which placed the tractor in Monticello City Park for several decades.
In addition to weather exposure for decades, vandalism of the tractor in 2005 left the Big 4 in bad shape. Westcott, Young, and other local volunteers convinced the city to let them restore the tractor.
Over the past 15 years hundreds of volunteer hours helped bring the tractor back to life. The Big 4 made several appearances in local parades and also found a new home in a garage on Main Street in Monticello. The building features large glass windows for visitors to see the tractor.
Young, and members of the Monticello Rotary Club, have requested that the city place a plaque to recognize all who contributed to the restoration efforts of the tractor, as well as a sign on the building to honor Westcott.
One name considered is the “Winn Westcott Memorial Barn”, although the city council wants to discuss the exact wording with Westcott’s family.
In addition to signage for the building name and a plaque honoring volunteers, the request asks for additional signage to promote the Big 4 Tractor.
The Rotary Club plans to help donate money for the signage. The city council indicates they are on board with the name, although they wait for approval through an action item until they have a bid amount for the signage.
At the meeting, Young and the council also discussed needs for the future of the Big 4, including finding people to train to keep the machine running, as well as discussions about upkeep for the garage and improving access for the visiting public.
The council and city staff have a cleanup of the building planned for later this spring. They will explore training the part-time city mechanic on how to maintain and operate the Big 4 tractor.
At the meeting, the council also discussed again a project to install solar panels to power the city pool.
The project has been in discussion for more than a year. In March 2021, the city discussed leasing neighboring land from the school district to place solar panels to power the project, but the project hit a slow spot and hasn’t progressed for some months.
The project may have new life though, as renewable company AES has pledged to make a significant contribution to the project.
AES operates renewable energy projects in the US, including the Latigo Wind Park north of Monticello.
While the city would need to provide for installation, AES shared with city manager Evan Bolt that they are willing to donate all the solar panels along with a needed inverter to use solar to power the pool.
Bolt reports that over the course of 30 years, the utility reduction would represent $1 million in cost savings.
The savings could go toward projects at the building, including upgrading the heating and air conditioning system and insulation to possibly keep the pool open year-round.
Bolt adds that concerns about paying for lifeguards year-round would still be an issue, but the city may be able to hire a lifeguard for early morning and afternoon swims at the pool.
With council approval, the city has begun exploration of the process with utility provider Empire Electric.
The city hopes that additional partners, including the school district and possibly San Juan Hospital, could help the project move forward.