GOCO grants $176,000

Three Routt County projects receive funds

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— Three Routt County entities are the happy recipients of recently announced Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund grants.

The Colorado Ski Heritage Project, the North Routt Community Playground Project and the Egeria Roping Club Multi-use Arena Renovation Project recently received word that they were awarded $176,000 in GOCO funds.

"We're very excited about it," said Linda Dilley, secretary treasurer of the Egeria Park Roping Club.

The roping club, which is based in South Routt County, was awarded $15,000 by GOCO. Dilley said the money, combined with $30,000 in funds from a grant the club received earlier this year from the Gates Family Foundation, will be used to replace the aging panels and gates at the 50-year-old arena. Some of the money also will be used to replace the announcer's stand at the arena, Dilley said.

The arena is used five nights a week by roping club members, 4-H members and the surrounding community, Dilley said. Club members and community volunteers will perform the labor needed to install the new arena panels and gates.

Routt County's biggest GOCO grant recipient is the Colorado Ski Heritage Project, an effort to upgrade Howelsen Hill's ski jump facility by adding plastic to create an all-season jump and improving the snowmaking system at the recreation area. GOCO awarded the project $150,000.

The grant boosts the amount of money collected for the project to nearly $2 million. The entire project is estimated to cost about $2.4 million.

The North Routt Community Playground Project received $11,000 in GOCO money to build a playground at the North Routt Community Charter School.

A new playground is needed to support the young charter school's growing enrollment and to provide the community with a safe and new recreation site, said Brian Watterson, chairman of the North Routt Community Playground Committee.

The committee has raised about $8,000 in addition to those funds provided by GOCO, Watterson said. The extra money will enable the committee to construct a basketball court and possibly to add other amenities, such as tetherball courts, in addition to the new playground equipment, he said.

The committee hopes to receive the new playground equipment sometime in August.

"Starting the school year, the kids should definitely have a nice, new playground," Watterson said.

The three GOCO recipients will provide some level of matching resources for their projects -- a requirement of all GOCO grant recipients.

The Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund was approved by voters in 1992 to provide grants to projects that preserve and enhance the state's open spaces, parks, outdoor recreation, wildlife, rivers and trails. GOCO grants are funded by a portion of state lottery proceeds.

Since 1994, GOCO has awarded more than $288 million in grants for nearly 1,700 projects across the state.

Local governments, nonprofit land conservation organizations, the state Division of Wildlife and state parks are eligible to receive GOCO grants.

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