Rifle plans to improve city park with grant | PostIndependent.com

Rifle plans to improve city park with grant

Heidi RiceGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE – After nearly two years on the shelf, the city’s Centennial Park improvement project has been dusted off and is back on the table with the hopes of receiving funding from two state agencies.City staff were optimistic after a meeting with Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Thursday morning in obtaining some funding for the nearly $5 million project.”We presented it to the DOLA board and they seemed positive about the project,” said Recreation Director Aleks Briedis.However, the $500,000 from DOLA is contingent upon the city receiving a $750,000 “Legacy Grant” from Great Outdoors Colorado.GOCO makes the grant available every four or five years if there is extra cash from the lottery fund, and uses it to fund large-scale projects.City staff and officials made a presentation to GOCO earlier this year, pitching for the legacy grant, and were recently contacted.”We found out a month ago that they liked our concept and wanted us to do a full application,” Briedis said. “They have put us in the category of ‘regional outdoor recreation facility’ with a maximum grant amount of $750,000.”Along with grant money received, the city also plans to continue to do fundraising for the remainder of the money and hopes to receive private donations from citizens. The city plans to kick in $2 million from the parks and recreation fund.”We’ll do it in phases, but the grant requires us to have it completed within three years,” Briedis said.The first $1 million would be used to move dirt around the park, which joins Fifth Street and Park Avenue and was named in honor of Rifle’s 100th birthday year of incorporation in 2005.”We’ll also be stabilizing the banks and doing flood control,” Briedis said. “We’ll put historic components along the (Rifle Creek) trail marking from 1905 to 2005.”Environmental work will also be done, including a riparian area with a boardwalk going through it, multiple playgrounds, a water play area and picnic shelters.”One of the biggest things will be a big, wide open bowl for events, such as the farmer’s market,” Briedis said. “It’s a lot of passive recreation – no athletic fields. And it should provide a huge economic development boost to the city and attract people to come to the park and shop downtown.”The city should receive an answer on whether it will receive the GOCO grant by early December. The funds from DOLA would follow. If received, construction could begin in 2008.”I’m feeling very optimistic right now,” Briedis said.

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