GMF Making Major Bids in Grant and Infrastructure Arena
Talk about a small town, with a limited population base and some definite topographic challenges, but a place that features mighty big financial ambitions.
At least when it comes to infrastructure and enhancing its main crown jewel, Gazebo Lake Park.
Last week, town officials announced the pursuing of the second phase of its Gazebo Lake Park facelift, including an entire replacement and repair of the bridge accessing this popular attraction, often used for weddings and small gatherings. The price tag for this project, part of a bid through the Community Block Grant process, with the initial application submitted to El Paso County, is a little more than $215,000.
And eventually, the town is eying improvements to the Gazebo structure itself, already designated in the state’s list of historic places. The future funds for this project would come from state historical dollars.
Plus, last week, the town, okayed the spending of nearly $300,000 for security camera for some of its key facilities, including town hall and its maintenance headquarters.
This could just be the beginning of an ambitious capital improvement venture for the town, as GMF jumps on the band wagon of municipalities in the region seeking major grant funds for infrastructure enhancements.
Future projects down the road could include the repaving the entire main road through town (Ute Pass Avenue), and even replacement of a strategic bridge, located at the entrance to the town off Hwy. 24. The timing is currently ideal for towns seeking major infrastructure monies, based on plans proposed by the federal and state government.
For example, the town of Cripple Creek, which also sports a limited population base, is wagering big on $10 million in infrastructure improvements.
GMF may match this projected amount itself.
Mayor Todd Dixon estimated that the total price tag for its complete list of infrastructure projects could easily near the $10 million mark.
But for this year, a key grant focus will center on the Gazebo bridge, which hasn’t been replaced or barely touched since it was constructed 30-plus years ago.
“It needs a little love and attention,” quipped Dixon, who cited the fact that the bridge is badly in need of repair. Moreover, he sees significant problems if this isn’t addressed.
He, and other trustees, favor the construction of a new bridge, rather than band-aid -like repairs.
Part of this project would include the extension of a concrete path to the bridge entrance.
GMF recently completed the first phase of the Gazebo Lake project, capped by the addition of a concrete, pedestrian path, a spillway and construction of fully handicap-accessible fishing pier.
The next phase would probably garner more attention and become more noticeable, since it involves the main Gazebo area. Dixon doesn’t expect any construction on this future Gazebo improvement project to occur, until at least the fall of 2023.
No More Arson Attacks
In other major forthcoming improvements, the town’s board of trustees gave the preliminary go-ahead for the spending of nearly $300,000 for security cameras for two of its prime facilities as a defensive measure to avoid any further problems, such as what occurred in a previous arson that destroyed GMF’s historic town hall 11 years ago.
“As we all well know the prior town hall was destroyed by vandals who were upset over a speeding citation in 2012. Had the suspects not been burned in the fire, they may well have gotten away with their deed with no consequences – all that being said, quality security cameras with good resolution and night vision capabilities will give use at least investigative leads in the event someone else disgruntled for a perceived slight come to do the town harm,” stated Marshal
Sean Goings, in a report last week to the trustees.
The marshal cited the importance of protecting the current, nearly $1 million town hall, and its public works facility.
He cited estimates for these cameras at the $2,988 figure.
The trustees reacted favorably to this plan, and didn’t raise any real concerns.
Infrastructure has become a growing demand for the town’s leaders for the 2023 year, and for the long-term future. Dixon said they have identified of spree of projects that really can only be paid for through the use of grants.
But with grants, the town often has to come up with small matches in dollars or in-kind services.
For the Gazebo project, the town plans to divvy up to the plate with its share of annual conservation funds.