City of Rifle hopeful consulting firm obtains new funding for street improvements, pedestrian safety |

City of Rifle hopeful consulting firm obtains new funding for street improvements, pedestrian safety

Rifle City Council is hoping to use the recently passed $1.8 billion infrastructure package as well as additional grant sources to pursue a wish list of major projects.

City leaders met with a grant application writer on Wednesday to see what projects they’d like to prioritize. An official with Sustainable Strategies DC, a consulting firm contracted with the city at $5,500 per month to go after substantial grants, is set to write six grant applications geared toward priority projects.

Sustainable Strategies Principal Ashley Badesch told City Council obtaining these grants requires bidding through a competitive application process.

“The strategy is to figure out what projects are far enough along that they’re basically shovel-ready,” Badesch said. “We can look at construction grants at the federal level and figure out if we can leverage state funding as well.”

The first project council members addressed was making improvements to U.S. Highway 6 and Whiteriver Avenue, one of the busiest intersections in town. According to numbers provided by the city, there have been 39 traffic accidents alone in this particular area alone since 2019.

In addition to receiving heavy motor traffic on a daily basis, people walking in the area tend to cross the accident-prone intersection, Rifle City Manager Tommy Klein said Thursday.

“It’s very difficult to cross that intersection,” he said. “It’s not meant for pedestrian crossing.”

The city intends to obtain a grant through the Colorado Department of Transportation to construct a roundabout to improve safety conditions in the area, a project estimated to cost about $5 million.

“It’s such a big deal in this town. It’s just so unsafe,” council member Clint Hostettler said. “To me, that’s a big one.”

Another major project the city discussed was obtaining grant funding for potentially installing a pedestrian bridge over Highway 13 and 30th Street. This intersection, which doesn’t have a traffic light, is flanked by residential neighborhoods to its west as well as Deerfield Park and Wamsley Elementary School to its east.

“My priorities are safety first; the two big projects — the pedestrian bridge and the roundabout,” Council member Brian Condie said. “Then infrastructure.”

Klein said the city also plans to raze the old water treatment center on Dogwood Drive, create a new roadway and install an additional water tank near Garfield County Rifle Airport to be used to support development.

“I am very impressed the county had the foresight to build that airport,” Klein said. “It’s a tremendous economic generator for our community.”

The council on Wednesday also proposed going after funding for several other projects on their wish list, including the possibility of constructing a new recreation center, making enhancements to existing bike and hiking trails and potentially building a new park on Birch Avenue.

The plan moving forward is to create a “road map” identifying all the projects the city hopes to obtain funding for.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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