Eagle sets sights on stimulus cash
EAGLE, Colorado –Like communities across the nation, Eagle is making a bid for funding through the federal Recovery and Reinvestment stimulus program.
As a result, some local engineering firms are getting their own financial shot in the arm. Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell says the community has applied, or will apply, for four stimulus grants:
• Downtown wastewater line replacement – This project would replace sewer collection lines in the alleys on either side of Broadway as well as the lines between Wall and Washington streets.
The project is estimated to cost $1.3 million. The town’s application has been accepted and rated as a medium priority.
“It’s very unlikely the project will be funded in this round of stimulus funding,” Powell said. “But we want our engineering to be ready for a second round of stimulus funding.”
For that reason, the town last week approved a $12,000 contract with Johnson Kunkel and Associates in Eagle to complete the engineering design for the replacement project.
• Downtown water line replacement – The town has completed an application to replace undersized water service lines in Eagle’s older neighborhoods, but learned the project is a low priority.
“They are more focused on areas that have issues related to water treatment and water quality – health concerns,” Powell said.
However, the town also plans to issue a request for proposals for engineering services related to the project in the event a second round of stimulus money becomes available.
• Eagle County Fairgrounds water line loop – This project would install a new water line to serve properties north of the Eagle River including the fairgrounds, Eby Creek Mesa, the Market Street commercial area, the Eagle Commercial Park, Eagle Villas and Red Canyon Townhomes. While the town completed the application process, it ultimately withdrew the project from consideration because right-of-way acquisition issues couldn’t be resolved within the aggressive timeline proposed.
• Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant – This part of the economic stimulus package is earmarked for large transportation projects that will have economic stimulus value. Nationwide, $1.5 billion has been funded for projects that range in cost from $20 million to $350 million.
The developers of the proposed Eagle River Station project have requested the town forward a grant request for the east Eagle interchange. Additionally, the Eagle Town Board has directed staff to forward an application for Eby Creek Road improvements.
The TIGER request from Eagle River Station has stirred up dissent among members of the town board. While Trinity/RED Eagle, the Eagle River Station development team, will be responsible for completing the formal application, the town of Eagle must forward the request to the feds. Town officials noted that while $1.5 billion is a lot of money, it won’t stretch very far across the entire country’s expensive transportation needs.
Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski said if the east Eagle application was successful, the town could benefit in its financing deal with Trinity/RED, which calls for a sales tax rebate to the developer to finance public infrastructure improvements like the interchange. He added that if the town rejects Eagle River Station, it wouldn’t be forced to take the money and build the interchange.
“All in all, it’s a good thing for the town to receive $20 million,” he said.
But some town board members expressed reluctance to forward the Trinity/RED application, noting that the project itself is under review. Members Scot Hunn and Yuri Kostick favored the town making its own application for Eby Creek Road improvements instead of partnering for the east Eagle interchange project. They questioned if the town would be hurting its chances for Eby Creek Road by forwarding the Trinity/RED application.
“It is my understanding that the county is going to submit an application, too, for the airport interchange. We will competing against that and with entities from all over the state and the nation,” said Gosiorowski. “Hopefully the project that best stands on its merits wins the money.”
The town board members have unanimously agreed it would be a good idea to forward a TIGER application for Eby Creek Road improvements and Hunn is the only one opposing the Trinity/RED application.
“I think any time we have a chance to apply for free money, we should apply,” town board member Roxie Deane said.
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