Second round of Garfield FMLD grants announced |

Second round of Garfield FMLD grants announced

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Pedestrian safety improvements at the main New Castle interchange and locker rooms at the Glenwood Springs Community Center ice rink are among the big winners in the second round of 2012 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant awards announced Wednesday.A $231,000 award from the FMLD funds to the town of New Castle will help pay for construction of the planned $1.3 million in improvements to the Interstate 70 Exit 105 interchange.The project, which the town hopes to begin construction on next summer, is to include a pedestrian bridge across the railroad tracks, I-70 and the Colorado River to County Road 335, and a roundabout on the north end of the interchange at Highway 6.The New Castle grant was one of a total of $1,777,958 awarded in the fall grant cycle. It was just the second round of grants for the new Garfield FMLD, which was established last year to funnel federal mineral lease dollars to local governments in the county.In addition to more than $1.5 million in traditional grants for major capital construction projects, the fall cycle also included $190,630 in mini grants for a variety of local services, programs, equipment purchases and smaller projects.”We didn’t do the mini grants in the first cycle last spring, because we were just getting started,” said Gregg Rippy, president of the three-member Garfield FMLD Board of Directors, which reviews and awards grant applications twice a year.”But these smaller grants really get to some of the needs that are out there that fall short of the big capital projects, but which are still really great things that need to be funded,” Rippy said.Also, while the first round of funding allowed towns and other local government entities to submit multiple grant applications for different projects, the fall cycle was limited to one traditional and one mini-grant request from each entity.As a result, the FMLD was able to award all seven large grant applications and all eight mini-grant requests, Rippy said.In addition to the New Castle grant, the city of Glenwood Springs will receive $270,000 to build new locker rooms at the community center ice rink. The city received a FMLD grant in the spring cycle for the Three Mile culvert project on Midland Avenue.The largest single grant in the fall cycle will go to the Parachute-Battlement Mesa Parks & Recreation District ($350,000) to develop a new park on Sipparelle Drive in Battlement Mesa.Other large grants included $319,328 to complete improvements on Silt’s Orchard Avenue; $217,000 to do preliminary engineering for a roundabout on the north side of the Interstate 70 main Rifle exit; $150,000 in matching funds for the state charter Ross Montessori School in Carbondale to buy land and construct a new school building; and $50,000 to put a 20-kilowatt solar array system on the new Silt Branch Library.Rippy said the district had initially anticipated awarding $1.6 million in grants for the fall cycle, but the latest mineral lease payments to the district in August came in at $3.7 million.The balance will go into the project grant fund for the spring 2013, while up to 10 percent is allowed to be retained for administrative needs.The spring grant cycle will begin in February, and the next round of awards will be announced in April

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