Town tapped to get huge grant awards from GOCO

Ice rink roof and more open space…

The Town of Crested Butte received more than $1.7 million in grants from the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board of directors Wednesday. In theory, the money could help provide a roof over the Crested Butte ice rink by next winter and will help finish up the second phase of a major open space project near Crested Butte.



With almost $2 million granted to four projects in the county, $1,005,000 will go toward helping secure 110 acres in the Kochevar open space parcel just north of town. Another $700,000 will be earmarked for a roof over the open air Big Mine ice rink. The roof project is estimated to cost $1.15 million and the town has $200,000 allocated for the project in the 2011 budget.
The open space money will go to fund a large part of phase 2 of the Kochevar project.
“We are grateful to GOCO and all the partners that made this project possible,” said Crested Butte mayor Leah Williams. “There’s the county Land Preservation Board, the 1% for Open Space organization, the Crested Butte Land Trust, the Trust for Public Lands [TPL], and the Kochevar family. They all made this project happen.”
This is phase 2 of the Kochevar project and secures 110 acres of the total 322-acre parcel. The town is putting in $400,000 for this phase as well. The Land Preservation board and 1% for Open Space organization are both putting in $100,000. The TPL will add about $4,000 to cover closing costs. 1% for Open Space is also contributing $10,000 for the stewardship endowment. The $5,000 on top of the million dollars from GOCO is also earmarked for stewardship.
“It’s a great project,” said Town Planner John Hess. “This is the final request we have for GOCO but we’ll still owe the TPL $749,000 for the remaining 42 acres in the third and final phase.”
The entire project encompasses 322 acres in preserved land plus 70 acres that have a conservation easement that allows two building envelopes. Last year, GOCO awarded $2 million to the TPL to fund the first phase of the Kochevar project that resulted in the transfer of 170 acres. That land will be used for preservation, recreation trails, and the protection of agricultural and wildlife use.
Concerning the Big Mine ice rink, Crested Butte Parks and Recreation director Jake Jones echoed Hess’ enthusiasm. “We are extremely pleased to receive this grant,” he said. “It is super exciting and it’s as close as we’ve been to covering that rink. It ushers in the second phase of the project. I credit the Parks and Rec Master Plan in getting us there.”
Jones said the grant doesn’t guarantee a roof in 2011. “In order to break ground in the spring we still need to raise about $220,000,” said Jones. “I’m expecting to approach some statewide foundations for a portion of that money but we’ll still need to raise some money locally.”
While the town has $200,000 budgeted for the project in the 2011 budget, Jones said he expects to have to find local contributions totaling about $100,000.
“We hope to break ground in early spring and have a fall completion,” said Jones. “If someone cares about this project they’ll be called upon to help. That help might be an in-kind contribution or a donation of money. The real work begins now.”
Jones emphasized that even with the roof, the rink will be a basic facility. It will be open-sided with no refrigeration. Utilizing GOCO funds prohibits putting up walls. It will use the current concrete slab that is an NHL-size rink. In phase 3 of the project, the warming house will be extended and locker rooms expanded.
The town has received other contributions toward the roof project. The Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District has pledged $25,000. The Crested Butte Skateboard Alliance has pledged $500. Jones said several other organizations have pledged in-kind support; he is waiting to hear back from the county commissioners about getting a contribution.
The final two GOCO/Lottery awards to Gunnison County projects are a $200,000 grant to Gunnison County to help build a new restroom/shower facility at the county fairgrounds, and a $70,233 grant to the town of Marble to develop a playground and small playing field for pre-school and very young school children. Fifty-five projects in 32 counties across Colorado were awarded GOCO/Lottery grants totaling more than $24 million by the GOCO board at its meeting on December 8. Since 1994, projects in Gunnison County have been awarded $26.3 million in GOCO grants that comes from lottery funds.

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