State: City can buy armory

Sale bodes well for Boys and Girls Club grants

The Legislature's capital development committee has accepted the city's offer to purchase the former armory building east of Craig.

Using funds from a Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant, the city offered $332,795 for the building. The offer was less than the $600,000 appraised value of the building but included a credit for the money the county invested to renovate and expand the building into a youth care center.

The closing is expected by the end of this month, which means the city can move forward to approve a contract with the Boys and Girls Club of Craig to lease the building from the city. The Craig City Council is expected to take action on a resolution to purchase the building at its Tuesday meeting.

City Manager Jim Ferree said he expects the lease to be for a term of 15 years at $1 a year. The Boys and Girls Club will pay for utilities.

The city received a $400,000 grant. The remainder, plus a $45,000 grant the club was awarded through the Milhiem Trust, will be used to replace the floor in the gymnasium and install new lighting and backboards.

The club will use the gymnasium during the afternoons for its programs and the city will be able to use it in the evenings for Parks and Recreation Department programs.

Ferree said he hopes the renovations can occur during the school district's holiday break.

For the Boys and Girls Club of Craig, the city's acquisition of the building puts grant money in reach that wasn't available before.

"There are some grants available only for governments or municipalities," BGCC Executive Director Jonathan Godes said. "This will open a whole new realm for us."

Godes plans to talk to Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave Pike about partnering to obtain a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to build a soccer field and playground.

Having a long-term lease also bodes well for BGCC grant applications.

"It makes a lot of foundations and individual donors feel better because they feel that money they're giving won't go away in two years," Godes said. "A lot of foundations we've applied to are watching the ownership issue."

Godes has a wish list of renovations, which will culminate, he hopes, in a building expansion.

"We're already getting to the point where we're getting pretty full," he said.

More than 100 youths spend time participating in Boys and Girls Club activities each night. Godes thinks the most the building can comfortably accommodate is 130.

"We're growing so fast," he said.

"My hope is the community will see we've really filled a need and will recognize we'll eventually need more space and get behind a new facility. I don't want to ever limit membership."

Godes also would like to expand the club's programming to include more career-based and financial preparation programs.

BGCC offers six nationally patterned programs and three locally generated programs. He hopes to pick up at least two new national programs in January.

"I really want to keep things fresh and moving," Godes said.

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