Rifle awarded $800,000 from state
Rifle has won an $800,000 state grant to improve the reliability of its water system.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs announced the grant Tuesday for the city’s north-south integration project, which will see Rifle construct another south waterline through the city. The only waterline of the south side of town is over 40 years old, which can result in massive outages if repairs are needed.
“A redundant line is greatly needed to help because when we have to make repairs we cannot isolate the line,” said Assistant City Manager Kimberly Bullen. “A new line will better serve the south side of Rifle.”
The grant money the city will receive is from DOLA’s Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds program, collected by the state from the oil and gas industry. DOLA lists several criteria for winning a grant, among them that the recipient should be impacted either socially or economically by the mineral extraction industry.
While the oil and gas industry in Rifle and throughout Garfield County generates its share of controversy and criticism for over-reliance on its revenue, its presence also opens the door for projects like this to be completed. The purpose of the grant aims to mitigate the impact of the oil and gas industry, which is why Rifle was one of the applicants awarded grant money.
To see the full list of applicants visit the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website. Over the years, Rifle has gotten millions in grant money, Bullen said.
Without the grant money, money for the water project would have had to come from the city, but now with $800,000 Rifle can move forward with projects that had previously been discussed, but never executed. Along with the waterline construction, the city hopes to add another north roundabout for vehicles getting off and on Interstate 70 and relocate the town’s park and ride.
The north-south integration project will need to be completed within the next two years, so Bullen said city officials will get together in January and begin to determine how best to proceed.
The timing of when to begin each portion of the project will be important and the city will look to lessen the impact multiple construction projects will have on its residents.
Bullen stated that the south waterline will be the first phase of the project and after that the city will have to decide how best to allocate the rest of the money. She mentioned that the city may have to delay other capital projects in order to ensure that every phase of the north-south integration project is completed.