$1M loan for Hayden OK'd

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— A substantial financial boost from the state promises good news for future growth in Hayden.

The Colorado Water Resource and Power Development Authority finally approved a $1 million loan on Friday to upgrade Hayden's 25-year-old water plant.

Along with a $300,000 Energy Impact grant from the state and a $200,000 commitment from the town, the loan will cover the costs of upgrading the plant's chlorine process and adding a high-service pumping station.

The $1.4 million improvements should increase the plant's capacity by a projected 20 percent, which bodes well for developers previously concerned about building new residential areas that could not be supported by the Hayden Water Plant.

The Hayden Planning Commission will no longer need to place the burden of finding water on developers' shoulders, because the town will be able to handle the additional demand, Town Mayor Chuck Grobe said.

"It's definitely been an impediment," Grobe said. "It just gives a negative connotation when we have to tell developers that we're having trouble with our water supply, and they have to find a solution."

The need for upgrades to the water plant has existed for many years, but town officials aggressively began looking for ways to subsidize the project this spring, he said.

"We've been waiting a long time," Grobe said.

The town will now have a long-term solution in place to deal with heightened water use, Town Board Trustee Richard "Festus" Hagins said.

When the current system could not support the demands of a growing residential base, short-term solutions such as water restrictions became necessary, he said.

"The public works guys were working 18 and 20 hours just to deal with demand," Hagins said. "The approval on the loan definitely was needed."

Town Manager Rob Straebel represented the town at the loan hearing on Friday in Denver, where the state committee gave a unanimous nod to the request.

Straebel credited former and present town boards with ensuring the state's blessing for the loan.

"The committee said that because of the healthy financial position of the town, it was comfortable with approving the loan," Straebel said. "That gives credence to current and past board members that they have responsibly managed the fiscal matters of the town."

The town will pay back the loan with sewer and water fees.

Hayden residents, however, do not need to worry about paying higher water bills, Grobe said, because the state committee did not stipulate that the town needed to raise user rates.

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