County ranks projects for federal stimulus funds

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has asked Mesa County and the city of Grand Junction to draft a list of their top five stimulus requests.

Udall’s letter has local officials scrambling to rate projects that potentially could be funded
by grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Mesa County Commission discussed its top five Monday. The city of Grand Junction is still determining its priorites.

The County Commission ranked the 29 Road bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad and the Interstate 70 Business Loop as No. 1. Ranked No. 2 is a Grand Junction fire station, which was part of the public safety initiative rejected by voters last fall.

Grand Junction Mayor Greg Palmer, while saying he was appreciative of the county ranking city projects as Nos. 1 and 2, said the city probably will list the public safety building first and the 29 Road overpass second.

“The City Council has consistently talked about public safety as their priority,” Palmer said.

Collbran’s disintegrating water works was ranked No. 3 by the county.

“Their water system is held together by radiator hoses,” Commissioner Craig Meis said. “It’s serious.”

Fruita’s wastewater treatment plant, a replacement for its system of lagoons, got the county’s nod for No. 4.

“It is nice to have shovel-ready projects sitting there waiting for Uncle Sam to bless us,” Fruita Mayor Ken Henry said.

Henry said Fruita has to replace its old wastewater ponds because of stricter federal clean-water standards and that it could turn out to be an unfunded federal mandate.

“It has nothing to do with anything other than them demanding we spend $30 million to meet what a lot of people feel is questionable criteria,” Henry said.

A new fire station in Palisade is ranked No. 5.


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