County commits $600k to child advocacy center
A good idea got more expensive for Garfield County recently. Monday the county commissioners committed $600,000 for a new child advocacy center. They’d originally budgeted $150,000 for a modular building to be placed in back of the old Mountain View building next to Valley View Hospital. The building would house a place for law enforcement and social service agencies to interview and aid child abuse victims . It is now a much bigger project.Monday, the commissioners accepted a bid of $505,577 from Mueller Construction to build a 2,300-square foot building and install a $70,000 sidewalk.Costs began to rise for the center when the county found that modular buildings were not available since Hurricane Katrina made hundreds of thousands of people homeless along the Gulf Coast last year.County engineer Randy Withee told the commissioners the city of Glenwood Springs insisted on the sidewalk but would not contribute to its cost.”We started out with $150,000 and now we’re up to $600,000,” said Commissioner John Martin. “It’s a tough pill to swallow.”Martin and fellow commissioners Trési Houpt and Larry McCown were troubled that other local governments have failed to contribute to the center.”This is a regional center. Obviously this has fallen on deaf ears,” Martin said of attempts to gain financial help from other governments that would use the service.But county human services director Lynn Renick said the effort to build the center has been centered in Garfield County and no formal request was made to other governments.”So it’s a build it and they will come (project),” McCown said.Despite their misgivings, the commissioners voted unanimously to increase their financial support to $600,000.”I have to acknowledge I’m disappointed with what happened to this project,” McCown said. “I’m sorry the city didn’t see fit to participate. It says something about them. (When) the cost tripled it came close to eliminating the project.”He also said he recognized the importance of the center, as did Martin and Houpt.”It’s a great project. I support it wholeheartedly,” McCown said.The drive to raise money for the center is led by Joyce Bulifant-Perry, a former television actress and child advocate who lives in the valley. She and a task force of local people, as well as the Carbondale/Aspen Glen Rotary Club, have raised $61,000 for the center.Bulifant-Perry expressed the gratitude of the center backers at the county commissioners’ meeting Monday.”It means so much to the children,” she said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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