Gov. Ritter to celebrate new energy achievements today in Rifle |

Gov. Ritter to celebrate new energy achievements today in Rifle

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to visit Rifle today to celebrate the New Energy Economy achievements of Rifle and the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative (G-NECI).

The public is invited to attend the event and meet Colorado’s outgoing governor and champion of the New Energy Economy.

Gov. Ritter’s hour-long visit will focus on Rifle’s accomplishments through the statewide Sustainable Main Street Initiative, and will recognize the new energy achievements in Rifle, and throughout Garfield County, from the G-NECI.

Ritter launched the Sustainable Main Streets Initiative in April with the goal of helping smaller communities across Colorado revitalize their downtown corridors, boost economic development and incorporate improved energy efficiency and technology into their projects. The project has been led by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Governor’s Office.

On Nov. 30, Gov. Ritter and Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien spoke in Denver about the significant improvements to the four communities involved in the main streets initiative. Gov. Ritter congratulated the communities of Rifle, Monte Vista, Fowler and the Five Points Neighborhood in Denver for their participation.

“In just seven months, these communities have embraced the Sustainable Main Streets Initiative and advanced innovative projects that will create lasting benefits for their residents,” said Gov. Ritter.

Through the program, Rifle has developed a plan for a Health and Wellness Center at the former Valley Lumber site and devised financing strategies to pay for the plans. The town also created a Small Business Resource Center through a partnership between the library, the Rifle Economic Development Corporation, the Roaring Fork Business Resource Center, the Downtown Development Authority and the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce.

Other projects include renovations to the historic Ute Theater.

“It’s been inspiring to visit the pilot Sustainable Main Streets Communities over the past several months, walk down their streets and talk with residents about their ideas on how to develop their central corridors,” said Lt. Gov. O’Brien, who visited Rifle in October.

Gov. Ritter will also dedicate the solar electric system on the Rifle Branch Library roof and recognize the efforts to maximize energy efficiency at the new library. Both were projects through G-NECI, which has contributed funding for several energy saving and efficiency projects in Rifle and Garfield County.

The Rifle Library is equipped with a 53-kilowatt solar array on the roof that will substantially help with the facility’s electricity needs.

“We’re hoping to run about half of our power of the roof array,” said Garfield County Library District executive director Amelia Shelley.

The Library is also equipped with 95 percent efficiency boilers for the heating system, according to Shelley. The boilers were donated to the library district by EnCana.

“So, we should have a really efficient building,” Shelley said.

The event will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the large community room at the new Rifle Branch Library, located at 207 East Avenue, in Rifle.

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