Hayden's engineering contractors whipped up a water tank proposal in the nick of time, finishing the preliminary plan Thursday and sending it off to state officials Friday.
The town has until Monday to try to snag stimulus money for the project. Civil Design Consultants pushed the proposal through at the town's request. The cutoff is the first in a series of almost monthly deadlines, Town Manager Russ Martin said.
"If this were a 400-meter hurdle race, we've probably hit the first couple of hurdles," Martin said. "That's it."
Hayden has a water tank on Hospital Hill. Town officials want another one to provide redundancy in the system and to send water throughout town using gravity rather than pumps. Funding for the tank could be available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 approved last month.
Kevin Bommer, legislative and policy advocate for the Colorado Municipal League, noted that the deadlines were tight.
"I'm thinking there are going to be a whole lot of entities on that eligibility list that aren't able or choose not to get those engineering reports in by the March 23 deadline," Bommer said.
The state keeps a list of municipalities' water and wastewater needs, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin has said. Towns submit those to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the state gives the list to the federal government to seek money from a revolving loan program, Bommer said. Hayden's proposed water tank already was on the state list.
"Assuming that the town - any town or any entity - went through that process and got themselves on the eligibility list, that would make them eligible for stimulus funds and also revolving loan funds," Bommer said. The health department reopened the list after the stimulus package was approved.
The town considered water tank locations near Yampa Valley Regional Airport or Golden Meadows subdivision. Engineers went with the airport site, Martin said. That site could make it possible to send water around Hayden using gravity rather than pumps. A tank near Golden Meadows would gravity - feed the subdivision but not YVRA, Martin said.
The town currently pumps water to both areas.
Estimates put the tank cost at about $2.6 million, Martin said. The tank would hold half a million gallons of water. The Hospital Hill tank holds 1 million.
Residents have said the town might as well go for a million-gallon tank, Martin said. But if residents and businesses don't use the water, costly maintenance would be necessary to keep it from going stale, he said. The proposed site includes space to add more or larger tanks, Martin said.
Peabody Energy owns the parcel, which is at the far eastern end of the airport's runways, Martin said. That hunk of land is ideal because it is high enough to allow for the gravity feed, he said.
"That's a large hurdle, but I'm hoping Peabody will work with us and doesn't have anything formally arranged for the property. : We'll be in that process," he said. "They've worked well with us in the past, so hopefully we'll be able to do that again."
Hayden will pay for the preliminary engineering work, which Martin said would be $15,000 to $20,000. The next phase could cost more than $50,000, he said. The town plans to seek a Department of Local Affairs grant to pay as much as half of that, Martin said.
After Monday's deadline, more reports and applications are due April 27. Projects must be under construction by Sept. 30.
Hayden's chances could be good if it pushes the papers in on time.
"My philosophy, my advice to constituents is, if you can meet the deadlines, you've got a real shot at getting something," Bommer said.