Haven grant request gets thumbs up

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— Visiting Nurse Association officials are optimistic about receiving a grant needed to acquire The Haven Assisted Living Center in Hayden.

An advisory board on Thursday recommended that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs award the VNA at least a portion of its requested $625,000 in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds.

The Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance State Ad--visory Committee considered the VNA's application during a hearing in Denver.

Five of the six committee members present Thursday voted to recommend full funding. The sixth member suggested the VNA receive partial funding.

The advisory board also looked favorably on a $500,000 request from the city of Steamboat Springs to expand its public works shop, which is used to repair and maintain the city's emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Five of six present committee members voted for full funding of that project, and the sixth member recommended partial funding, said Winnie DelliQuadri, the city's grants analyst.

Michael Beasley, the executive director of the Department of Local Affairs, is expected to make final funding decisions for both requests in April.

"We are at least smiling while we're waiting," Northwest Colorado VNA director Sue Birch said. "From my experience and understanding ... it's unlikely they would reverse the recommendation of the committee."

The VNA already has raised about one-third of the $750,000 it needs to acquire The Haven, owned by the West Routt Rural Health Council. The VNA plans to use The Haven to help improve and expand senior services in the Yampa Valley.

VNA officials are planning an expansion of the facility that may include a community senior center, Birch said.

A $625,000 Energy Impact Assistance grant would cover acquisition costs as well as a portion of The Haven expansion. Funds also would go toward upgrading computers in the VNA's Steamboat Springs and Craig offices, she said.

Eight elected officials, VNA rep-resentatives and concerned residents made the snowy trip to Denver on Thursday to show their support for the proposal. The Industrial Comp-any provided a free flight on its private plane for some in the group.

Community support can help influence how the Energy and Min-eral Impact As-sistance advisory committee views an application, Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stah-oviak said.

Stahoviak is a member of the Energy Impact Assistance advisory board but was not present at Thursday's hearing.

"It's very important, especially when you're looking at an application like this one that is regional. ... To show a variety of entities working together is important," she said.

Elected officials at the hearing included Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison, Hayden Mayor Pro Tem Crec-encio "Chencho" Salazar and Steamboat Springs City Council member Ken Brenner.

Peabody En--ergy, which operates the Seneca and Twentymile coal mines, also sent a representative.

The mining community's sup-port is particularly important considering the source of the Energy Impact Assistance funds, Stahoviak said.

The program's money comes from state severance tax on energy and mineral production and from a portion of the state's share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining and drilling of minerals and mineral fuels on federally owned land.

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