Western Garfield County communities win big in mineral grants
Western Garfield County communities will be the beneficiaries of nearly $1 million in grant money as last week Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) grant recipients were announced for the spring cycle. Out of the $1,028,916 awarded this cycle, nearly 80 percent went to projects west of Glenwood Springs.
“Geography is not a determinant,” said Gregg Rippy, president of the Garfield FMLD board. “The same criteria is used on all projects.”
FMLD funds come from mineral lease and royalty payments on oil, gas and other types of mineral leasing on federal lands in the county and are to be used for communities impacted by these activities.
“Certainly those are communities are more impacted by natural gas development than, say, Carbondale,” Rippy explained. “There may be a natural leaning because of our mission.”
While every community in Garfield County can submit grant applications, projects that deal with health, life and safety are the most likely to be awarded, Rippy said.
This cycle awarded nearly $100,000 to local fire stations and over $300,000 to projects protecting and improving water pipelines and plants.
Glenwood Springs Fire Department received a $25,000 mini grant for the purchase of 15 portable radios with spare batteries and remote speaker microphones.
“I am grateful to the GCFMLD for funding our request,” said Glenwood Spring Fire Chief Gary Tillotson in a press release. “The department is experiencing a major deterioration in our aging radio equipment and an increase in malfunctions, which could affect the safety of our personnel. This grant money in conjunction with match money from our equipment replacement funds will allow the department to replace the bulk of our ‘mission critical’ handheld radios over the next few months. These upgrades will provide for more reliable communication and enhanced firefighter safety.”
The largest grant this quarter at $300,000 went to Rifle for its South Waterline Integration Project.
“Currently south Rifle is served by a single main from north Rifle,” said Rifle City Manager Matt Sturgeon. “The city’s Capital Improvement Plan has identified a need for a secondary line to south Rifle to better ensure a dependable water supply to the hospital, airport and numerous retail establishments along Airport Road.”
Additionally, Silt received more than $200,000 for senior housing improvements that include 12,000 square feet of new roofing, new isolated windows, and HVAC system replacement.
Rippy added that this cycle was somewhat unusual because unlike previous cycles, few recreation projects sought grants. Outside of the $51,100 awarded to Battlement Mesa and Parachute for the Grand Valley Recreation Center fire system, no money went to recreation projects.
Receipts were down about 50 percent due to fewer well starts on federal leases and lowered natural gas pricing nationally.
The fall 2017 grant cycle will begin in August with award announcements anticipated in October.