Money from Congress could go toward housing development in Craig |

Money from Congress could go toward housing development in Craig

Heavy machinery tears down the old Memorial Regional Hospital building on Russell Street Tuesday morning, a long-awaited demolition that stalled after the building was found to have asbestos in it, requiring abatement. FCI Constructors out of Grand Junction is the general contractor on the project, while Kuersten Construction from Rifle is subcontracting the heavy machinery demolition.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

In addition to potential funding for emergency generators for the city of Craig’s water plant, the city might also receive almost $1 million for affordable housing in the community. Funding would come from Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) requested by Sen. Michael Bennet.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider senators’ requests while writing the annual spending bill, which could include potential projects like Craig’s affordable housing request. Projects that have been submitted and are not guaranteed to be funded. In addition to accepting programmatic requests, which the Committee does every year, the Senate Appropriations Committee will, on a bipartisan basis, accept requests for congressionally directed spending items for fiscal year 2022. Bennet and Sen. John Hickenlooper have submitted dozens of these requests on behalf of projects all over the state of Colorado.

For the city of Craig, $979,000 has been requested to be used to acquire three affordable housing sites in the rural, transitioning community. City manager Peter Brixius said this is a much-needed project for the city, as the entire nation struggles with having enough affordable housing for citizens.

“This would go toward housing infrastructure,” Brixius said. “We initially requested several million, and (local officials) came to a number of what we could use (for housing). That’ll certainly help with a couple of projects. Housing is a critical growth issue. If we’re looking to attract different industries or manufacturing, we need to be able to support their workforce.”

Other parts of the state of Colorado could potentially receive money for housing, as well. The city of Durango could receive over $9 million to convert a large hotel into affordable housing, and the West Mountain Health Alliance in Glenwood Springs could receive $750,000 to develop up to 15 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units that will serve 20 to 30 people experiencing homelessness.

In addition to this funding, two other projects have been submitted by the city in order to potentially receive funding from the federal government. One was for water treatment, which could receive over $1 million, and the other is for the county courthouse, which is poised to receive $6 million, if approved. Money for the courthouse was requested after years of safety and security concerns regarding the aging Moffat County courthouse. This project will fund a new courthouse where residents can “more safely conduct their business with their local government.”

With the scarcity of affordable housing in Craig, Brixius added that the city is looking at multiple ways in order to help remedy the need. He noted that Economic Development Manager Shannon Scott is working through a housing needs assessment to help the city through that process of finding potential solutions. The city is also meeting with the Colorado Housing Finance Authority in finding programs to help with future housing.

“We’re turning over a lot of rocks to find solutions,” Brixius said.

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