City supports Nature Connection grant request
By Pat Sunderland
Published Thursday, May 4, 2017 9:17 am
Delta City Council has pledged up to $17,425 as matching funds for a GOCO Inspire Grant sought by the Nature Connection.
Program director Anita Evans and partners from the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have been making the rounds in Delta County, seeking support for a $1.5 million grant to implement programs, places and pathways to connect kids with the outdoors.
Evans explained kids and their families were surveyed about their outdoor interests and the results from Delta, Cedaredge, Paonia, Crawford, Hotchkiss and Olathe were incorporated into a larger plan to be implemented with the GOCO grant.
The "dream plan" for the Delta area includes trails, StoryWalks at Confluence Lake and Sweitzer Lake State Park, and climbing boulders for schools and parks. The Nature Connection views Fort Uncompahgre as an asset that could be utilized for family/group camping with additional tipis. The fort is also eyed as a "gear" dropoff point, with central warehousing at a school district-owned building in Hotchkiss. Surveys revealed a desire for bikes, stand-up paddleboards, camping equipment and archery equipment, Evans said.
The "dream plan" can only be fulfilled with 100 percent GOCO funding. If the full grant amount is not awarded, plans will be scaled back to projects with the greatest impact. At the 50 percent level, Delta area projects would total about $180,000.
The city agreed to allocate the funds from its Conservation Trust Fund (lottery funds) over the next three years, in proportion to the level of grant funding received. Regardless of the level of funding, the city will be spending just 10 cents for every $1 received from GOCO, Evans pointed out. Council members wanted her assurance that city funds would be used specifically for projects in the City of Delta of direct benefit to city residents.
Earlier in the meeting, members of the Delta Youth Council provided an update on a summit involving Delta and Hotchkiss high school students. During the summit, students were surveyed about the use of recreation facilities and programs in the city. Mayor Ed Sisson commented that their responses fell in line with the goals of the Nature Connection.
In other business, the city granted a license to copy and reproduce mural images to the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce, which has prepared a walking map of the city's murals. A similar request was previously granted to Jim Wetzel, who features the murals on a series of postcards.