Avon asks for more money to heat streets | VailDaily.com

Avon asks for more money to heat streets

Lauren Glendenning
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado ” The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District says it’s committed to contributing to an Avon, Colorado heating project that it would also benefit from, although town officials aren’t happy yet with the district’s proposed $422,000 contribution.

The project, known as the Avon Heat Recovery Project, would use the heat from Avon Wastewater Treatment Plant effluent to heat town streets and the Avon Recreation Center.

Jennifer Strehler, director of the town’s public works department, has been working on the project for about a year and the water district agreed to split the cost of the engineering study almost immediately. Both entities contributed $90,000 for that study.

The state awarded the town with a $1.5 million grant for the project ” money that was necessary because neither the town nor the district would have been able to come up with it, Strehler said.

The grant is part of a state program encouraging energy efficiency. The town must decide whether it can use the money for the project by October, or else it’ll have to give the money back to the state.

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The proposed Avon Heat Recovery Program is so innovative and energy efficient that the state awarded it with the second highest level of money available, said Greg Winkler, the regional manager with the state’s Department of Local Affairs.

Projects receiving these grants have to meet a number of criteria, such as incorporating a downtown area, using new energy technology and energy efficiency, he said.

“Clearly this program showed those things,” he said.

The highest level of grant money is $2 million, but no entity received that much. Only two counties received more ” $1.6 million ” proving how much the state thinks the project is worthwhile, Winkler said.

The town is looking for an 18 percent, or $750,000, contribution from the district. Right now the district is proposing $422,000, but board members showed interest in increasing that amount at Thursday’s meeting.

“I’d like to see us participate a little bit more,” said Rick Pylman, board member.

After listening to several Avon council members, Town Manager Larry Brooks and Mayor Ron Wolfe, water district board member David Viele said he had “certainly been swayed some.”

Avon’s $1,729,000 contribution to the project is already on the high end of what it can offer, which is why town officials are really hoping the district contributes 18 percent, not its current offer at just under 10 percent.

The district’s board planned to meet with advisors about whether it can contribute more and how much more. The board could make a decision at an upcoming meeting in the near future, said Diane Johnson, spokeswoman for the water district.

Both the town and the district say they really want to see the project happen. Brooks said if the project were simple, everyone would be doing it, so he acknowledged there would be hiccups along the way.

“I think there’s been a lot of effort on both sides,” he said. “This is a very inspirational project. It’s something we can all take pride in.”

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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