Oak Creek Soroco Middle School in Oak Creek is hoping to get $300,000 from a state energy impact program to fix up its building.
Soroco and two other applicants went before the Routt County Energy Impact Committee Monday to have their applications evaluated before they're passed on to the state level.
But outgoing Commissioner Ben Beall warned that Routt County and its small communities need to be more aggressive in applying for the grants.
"Routt County is impacted greatly by mining and yet we don't apply as much as we should," Beall said. "Especially towns like Hayden, Oak Creek and even Yampa they deserve to be funded."
Beall said it is partially the county's fault because officials been conservative about applying for grants.
"We've had a tradition of rotating applications so we wouldn't have so many different communities all going for applications at the same time," Beall said.
But Beall said he has seen things like the convention center in Grand Junction get an energy grant. He said that has convinced him that Routt County communities have been too conservative in applying for grants.
"How can you say the convention center in Grand Junction is directly related to mining when our communities are directly impacted and deserve to be funded?"
The grants come from the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance program, which provides financial assistance to communities that are socially or economically impacted by mining operations (minerals or fuels).
For example, in its grant application, the South Routt School District points out that the coal industry dominates the local economy, and its employees' children attend their schools.
Soroco Middle School is requesting $300,000 to help fund its half-million-dollar project to replace the roof, install heating controls, and to install fixtures and doors to meet federal disability standards.
The town of Oak Creek also needs help in setting up a water booster station. The water station would serve 20 homes and 46 trailers. The town is hoping to get $100,000 from the energy fund.
The North Routt Fire Protection District also is requesting $200,000 from the energy fund. It wants to build and equip a new fire station in north Routt County. The current station is located away from the populous area that generates the most emergency calls.
The other $1 million needed to complete the project will come from a bond issue, other grants and a $250,000 donation from a local resident. The resident also would donate land for the fire station.
The state committee that hears the requests will meet in mid-March to make recommendations on who receives the grants.
The state gives out $15 million to $24 million every year in energy impact grants
To reach Frances Hohl call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com