Ambulance barn tops county grant requests

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— An addition to the building that houses Steamboat Springs ambulance and rescue vehicles is the top priority for a county committee seeking energy impact grat funds.

The funds are distributed by the state to help areas that are impacted by energy companies such as this arrea’s coal mines. Counties prioritize their requests, then compete with other areas for the funds several times a year. With 610 calls for assistance last yaer, the Steamboat ambulance crew has purchased a new, third ambulance - but there’ no room to store it indoors when it arrives this spring. The ambulance barn currently has four bays, two for the existing two ambulances and two for Routt County Search & Rescue vehicles.

Already, a rescue command vehicle must be left outdoors, resulting in higher wear and tear alongside the possibility that it might not start in freezing weather.

It is unthinkable for the third ambulance to be housed outdoors, said ambulance director Smokey Slavens. Important medical supplies housed in the ambulance, such as IV fluid, would freeze.

The largely volunteer ambulance and search & rescue crews are seeking $250,000 to construct two new bays and a second floor on the builing on Yampa Street. The second floor would be used mainly for training and volunteer bunks.

The City of Steamboat Springs and the Routt County government have each committed $25,000, and the Steamboat Rural Fire Protection District is pitching in $10,000. Western Security agreed to install $8,000 of alarm system equipment for free. The balance of the $250,000 cost is being sought through energy impact grant funds.

The county commissioners aren’t sure where they’ll come up with their $25,000, so that money may not be forthcoming until August. Crews want to begin construction this June or July.

The county committee that prioritizes applications for the grant money includes the three commissioners; a representative from Haydenm Oak Creek, and Yampa; and a coal industry official.

The commissioners wanted to put funds for improvements at the county fairgrounds at the top of the list but were outvoted. The fairgrounds is the committee’s number two priority.

The commissioners said they fear they may have trouble at the energy impact grant fund hearings April 9 - 10 because the top two choices from the community will also receive county funds. The regional grant committee may think the county has plenty of money to do the projects without energy impact funds, some commissioners apparently think.

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