Town earmarks $400K for two future projects

 Roof for the rink and Depot upgrade get some big bucks

Making hay while the sun shines or when there is grant money available is the mantra of the Crested Butte Town Council. The council agreed with a request from the staff and will officially allocate $400,000 from the town’s capital fund balance toward matching funds for potential grants. Those grants could help pay for a roof over the Big Mine ice rink and a refurbishing of the Depot.




Town finance director Lois Rozman made the request at the Monday, July 19 meeting. “This isn’t easy to ask you, but we see an opportunity to set aside money and leverage it for two big projects that have been on the town’s plate a long time,” she explained. “The money wouldn’t be spent this year and maybe not until 2012 but we want to set it aside for these projects.”
Rozman said the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) program has a “special opportunities grant cycle” coming up that could be a good fit for funding a cover for the ice rink. But it needs to have matching funds. A similar situation is presenting itself with state grant funds available to help upgrade the historical Depot.
Rozman said the capital fund balance has more than $2 million in it. Even taking out the $400,000 from the fund balance would leave the town sitting at least $686,000 above the minimum comfort level for Rozman.
The Depot project will likely cost about $600,000. The town was recently awarded $150,000 in a Colorado Department of Transportation enhancement grant and now they want to apply for more money with a grant from the state historical fund from the Colorado Historical Society.
Rozman said the ice rink roof project is estimated to cost about $1.2 million. She is hoping to receive $700,000 from the GOCO grant, throw in $200,000 from the town and then raise another $300,000 through private donations and other grants.
“The $400,000 could leverage its way to bring in more than a million dollars,” observed mayor Leah Williams.
“We think if there is money available we should try to get it now,” said town manager Susan Parker. “The state’s situation with the budget doesn’t look good, so you never know when matching money like this will be available again.”
Parker said the GOCO grant application is due by the end of August, so Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones will be busy for the next several weeks.
“We are well positioned to pursue the money for the ice rink right now—other than economically,” he said. “GOCO funded our master plan so the timing appears good.”
The town is pursuing a $1 million GOCO grant to pay for some open space parcels as part of the recent Kochevar deal. Jones said he’s been assured that the two projects won’t impact each other and in fact will be evaluated separately.
Councilperson Dan Escalante said when Rozman began her request, “It was gut-wrenching. Our finances aren’t great and that worries me. We gave Jake a hard time and turned down his request for $1,500 in sod at the last meeting. But neither project will happen if we don’t take this first step. It’s economic development and it seems like a good thing to do.”
“I found it enlightening, not gut-wrenching,” said councilperson Jim Schmidt. “I am totally in favor of setting the money aside and doing both projects.”
The staff will draw up a pair of resolutions for the council to consider at the August 3 meeting. The resolutions will essentially earmark the money in those funds for those specific projects.

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