Grant applications to be prioritized

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— Routt County and the town of Hayden are preparing to ask the state for more than $1.5 million in grant money.

Hayden is requesting $517,800 in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance money for the next funding cycle, town officials said. The money would help fund water infrastructure improvements.

Routt County is requesting $1 million in funding for remodeling the historical Routt County Courthouse.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners and other local officials who sit on the Energy Impact Prioritization Board will review the requests at 10 a.m. today in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Routt County Courthouse Annex. The prioritized applications will then be submitted to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, or DOLA. DOLA officials divvy up the funds that come from the 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.

Hayden would match the $370,000 grant with about $100,000 cash. The town also is asking for an impact assistance loan of $147,800.

"It means we can finish what was started several years ago," Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said. "It will probably be the last water project for two or three years."

The grant money could provide relief for Hayden residents. The Town Board has raised water usage rates by 50 percent each of the past three years to pay for improvements and to make the water fund self-sufficient.

The proposed improvements involve the replacement of 2,600 feet of pipe and extending a water line 1,800 feet to a planned police station on land currently owned by Peabody Coal Co. The town is negotiating with Peabody to trade a couple of acres of land. In return, Peabody would be able to access the water lines.

The Routt County Courthouse remodel is part of a $21 million Justice Center project, which includes improving the existing courthouse and county offices. About 29,200 square feet of space would be remodeled. It also would allow offices currently housed off site to be brought back to the county's downtown campus, according to the funding application.

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