Officials agree to make TMH top grant priority |

Officials agree to make TMH top grant priority

There were no arguments. The Memorial Hospital’s request for $1 million will be ranked first of the five grants coming out Moffat County for the next Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant cycle.

City, county, hospital and college district officials met Tuesday night for a grant prioritization workshop. It took no discussion to conclude that the hospital’s need for money was the greatest need presented. The hospital’s request is being co-sponsored by the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District. The money will be used to get infrastructure to the proposed site of the partial replacement hospital.

Participants also agreed fairly easily that the second priority will be the Craig Rural Fire Protection’s request for $60,000 for a cab and chassis, on which they’ll mount an existing water tank — the only thing remaining from a 1970 tanker truck that is been eliminated because it was costing too much to maintain.

“Until taxpayers smarten up, our equipment replacement program will be through (grants). It’s the only avenue we have left,” Deputy Fire Chief and Craig City Councilor Bill Johnston said.

Consensus broke down on the three remaining requests. City Councilor Don Jones said the city’s need for a trash truck outweighed the county’s request for $60,000 for weed management in areas affected by oil and gas drilling.

The trash truck will help the city maintain a 10 percent reserve in its solid-waste fund. That reserve is already down from the 25 percent officials prefer to have because increased landfill fees cut into savings, City Manager Jim Ferree said.

Weed control is seasonal, Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said.

“The thing with weeds is, if you spend a dollar when it’s a little problem, you save a hundred when it’s a big problem,” he said.

The matching funds for the grant are coming from oil and gas company contributions, which also makes the request timely, Gray said.

The weed-management grant request was ranked higher than the city’s trash truck and was followed by the county’s request for $50,000 for road maintenance.

“I don’t think there will be a big problem (getting these grants approved); they’re all little and all have a 50 percent cash match,” Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele said. “Both grants coming from the county are very energy-impact driven, so we think both will probably be a slam dunk.”

There should be less competition for Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grants in next cycle. Grants are awarded in three cycles each year. Hospital officials said they would return for another $1 million request for construction and the city will ask for $1 million to go toward the construction of a new water plant. Other grants requests will be smaller.

Cultural heritage tourism

The Craig City Council agreed Tuesday night to co-sponsor a $420,000 Department of Local Affairs grant request to get a three-county cultural heritage tourism initiative off the ground.

A request from 10 communities joining together is unprecedented, according to Yampa Valley Economic Development Council staff member Winnie DelliQuadri. Because of the extensive cooperation shown, DelliQuadri thinks there’s a very good chance they’ll get the grant.

“It’s really, really unique and groundbreaking for this many communities to come together and ask for funds,” she said.

Much of the grant — $20,000 per community, — will be used to further individual projects such as creating interpretive signs, erecting historical markers or making certain sites visitor ready.

The remainder of the funds will be used for project coordination and supplies.

The funds also will be used for an interactive Web site, a brochure that takes travelers from county to county and training for cultural heritage tourism project participants.

The project is one of four selected by the national Trust for Historic Preservation for extra training and specialized attention.

“Economic diversity is a way to buffer our communities from downturns in the energy industry,” DelliQuadri said.

Safe havens

The Craig City Council agreed to be the pass-through agency for a $120,000 Department of Justice grant that will give those involved in domestic violence cases a safe place to exchange children and a place for the accused to meet with their children in a supervised atmosphere.

“Studies have shown that when (an abuser) is totally cut off from their children, it increases the likelihood of abuse occurring in the future,” City Manager Jim Ferree said.

Only municipal governments can apply for Department of Justice funds, so the city has agreed to do so on behalf of Advocates-Crisis Support Services. ACSS will partner with Advocates Against Battering and Abuse in Steamboat Springs.

The funds will allow the hiring of a program coordinator who will work in Steamboat and Craig, assessing feasibility.

This is mainly a planning grant, Ferree said.

The goal will be to develop a strategy to address supervised visitation and safe exchange programs in the Yampa Valley.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or ccurrie@-craig—–daily–

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