GJ eyeing stimulus money for fire stations

The city of Grand Junction will apply for up to $15 million in federal stimulus money to build a new downtown fire station and remodel Fire Station No. 2 at 28 1/4 and Patterson roads, hoping to get a cut of a huge pie to build needed infrastructure and create jobs.

City Manager Laurie Kadrich has put together a team of a dozen or so employees to closely monitor the $787 billion bill signed by President Obama last month. Employees will update Kadrich weekly on the status of the package and the rules for applying for funding.

“This bill is ever changing,” Deputy City Manager Rich Englehart said. “The mission we’ve taken on is to track it as best we can and seek out every opportunity to try to access some of those dollars.”

Englehart said the government is distributing funding in two ways: directly to communities and organizations using existing funding formulas, and through federal and state agencies via competitive grants.

He said $210 million will be available nationally for public-safety projects ready to be built now. Communities can apply for a maximum of $15 million for a project.

Englehart said a lot of details about the stimulus money remain unknown, including the criteria the Department of Homeland Security will use in accepting and judging grant applications.

The city would welcome any grant dollars for public safety, given that voters in November rejected a $98 million initiative to build seven new police and fire buildings.

In addition to public safety, Englehart said city officials will try to obtain funding for transportation, economic development, housing and energy efficiency programs.

The city already has received some stimulus money. It received more than $90,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding and more than $250,000 in public safety money that it will split with Mesa County.


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