County puts Gray Gourmet on month-to-month lease

The Gray Gourmet program is seeking new quarters as Mesa County is moving to bring a new tenant — and revenues — from the building that has housed the local meals-on-wheels program in downtown Grand Junction for nearly 30 years.

The Mesa County Commission on Monday approved a one-month lease with St. Mary’s Hospital for the property at 551 Chipeta Ave. for $3,337 and officials are still working on a lease that would continue the arrangement for eight more months.

At some point, however, the county hopes to bring a new tenant aboard, one that will pay market rates for the building now occupied by Gray Gourmet, Commission Chairman Scott McInnis said.

The Gray Gourmet, meanwhile, is looking for a new location for its operations serving more than 320 meals per day to homebound individuals 60 or older and to eight dining sites scattered around the county. The agency delivered 119,126 meals in 2016.

Gray Gourmet’s lease expired at the end of June and county officials decided they could no longer afford to house the program at less-than-market rates, McInnis said.

“Last year we put in $52,000 (in repairs and maintenance) and we got approximately $240 in rent,” or $20 per month, McInnis said.

The county has leased the building to St. Mary’s for the Gray Gourmet program since 1989.

The county embarked this year on an effort to get more money from tenants as it hopes to reduce deficit spending in its $57 million general fund budget.

County officials are negotiating with a nonprofit renter for the building, which will pay market rental rates, McInnis said. Whether the deal goes through depends on whether the potential renter gets the grant it’s seeking, he said.

If that arrangement falls through, Gray Gourmet could remain, assuming it hasn’t already found a different location, McInnis said.

One way or another, “I’m confident that we’ll have a nonprofit in that building,” McInnis said.


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First the County evicted the food bank from a space that is still not being used by anybody. Now they put the Meals on Wheels on life-support. Has anybody told them that Mesa County is a low income county, with a very large elderly demographic? Isn’t county government about more than making money? Isn’t is what ties a community together? We can’t seem to act like a community, and it shows. We have higher unemployment than the rest of the state—in good times and in bad times. We have lots of senior citizens. We have higher suicide rates than the rest of the state. Could we focus a little energy, and (yes) tax money on things that could improve our community instead of spending every waking moment thinking about how to squeeze the last dollar out of not-for-profits that are doing real work in the community?

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