County human services building may stay in Rifle |

County human services building may stay in Rifle

Jeremy Heiman
Special to the Post Independent

Garfield County and the city of Rifle appear to be on the way to an agreement that will keep the county’s proposed human services building in Rifle.

“We believe we have a workable solution,” Rifle city manager John Hier told the Garfield County Commissioners Monday morning. The commissioners agreed to continue the discussion with the council Monday evening at Rifle City Hall. Word of a final decision was not available by press time.

Rifle’s proposed settlement, which Hier described as a “win-win” solution, calls for building a new county Human Services Department structure on the current site of the Cooper Field ballpark at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, and building a new ballfield at Deerfield Park, a new subdivision in north Rifle where a ballpark was already planned.

If this plan is approved, it will reverse a 2-1 decision made by the commissioners to build the human services building at the Garfield County Airport, three miles outside of Rifle’s city limits.

Rifle officials and Human Resources staff wanted to keep the building within the city limits for the convenience of Department of Social Services and Garfield County Public Health clients.

As part of the settlement, Rifle city officials offered to speed up the review process for the county’s building if the county commits to building within the city.

Rifle staff members developed a funding scheme for the ballfield in meetings Friday with county staff, representatives of the Garfield County Re-2 School District and a group of baseball boosters called Field of Dreams. The school district has a stake in what happens to the field because the Rifle High School Bears team will play there; Field of Dreams members are parents of baseball players.

The ballfield must be completed by February of next year to accommodate the school, but further improvements will be made during 2005, bringing the total cost to about $500,000.

The funding plan for the new ballfield calls for the school district to provide lights, costing $100,000 to $150,000, from its 2005 budget.

Field of Dreams will put up $100,000, the city of Rifle and Garfield County would each pay $150,000. Much of the money put up by the city and county will be energy impact funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

At this point, Field of Dreams is not certain where it will get $100,000 to contribute to the effort. The organization has applied for grants from foundations that specialize in baseball programs.

Didi Snead, a baseball mother representing the group, requested a letter of support from the county commissioners to help with grant applications.

“It would take a long time to sell that many hot dogs, so we have got to get grant money” she said.

In other action Monday, the Garfield County Commissioners:

– Agreed to request a grant of $18,000 from the Bureau of Land Management to create a fire plan for the county.

– Agreed to request $10,000 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for preliminary engineering studies for water and sewer service in the Colorado Mountain College turnoff area.

– Put off making a recommendation for or against a new wastewater treatment plant for the Rapids on the Colorado subdivision between New Castle and Silt.

– Postponed a decision on approval of a 102-foot-tall broadcast antenna tower on Red Mountain, requested by radio station KMTS. The delay gives station staff more time to review their options.

Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext 535

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