GOCO to seek input from communities on wish list for projects

Great Outdoors Colorado this summer will visit communities around the state and ask them to look at the kinds of projects that could be funded with lottery proceeds.

The listening tour will take place after the next round of grants, which will include three projects in Mesa County.

Officials with GOCO will tour 15 communities this summer to ask for involvement in setting the course for the coming years, GOCO Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug said.

“We’ll celebrate what’s occurred and ask where you see needs in the future,” Aangeenbrug said.

GOCO, which was established by voters in 1992 to distribute lottery proceeds, is looking to update its strategic plan and look anew at local, regional and state needs.

GOCO has distributed $650 million around the state, including nearly $21 million in Mesa County and nearly $161 million across the Western Slope.

Three Mesa County projects are up for approval in a week by Great Outdoors Colorado.

The projects are $200,000 for Little Salt Wash Park in Fruita, $122,000 for improvements to Melrose Park in Grand Junction and about $270,000 for the Mesa County Land Trust and the community-separator project.

Among the projects that have received Colorado Lottery funding from GOCO is the Colorado Riverfront Greenway legacy project, for $9 million.

Money from the lottery has gone to projects from Fruita to Collbran.

Great Outdoors Colorado was established in response to efforts to direct lottery money to a variety of purposes.

A constitutional amendment requires that half the proceeds be used for outdoor conservation and improvement projects, and Aangeenbrug said voters appear satisfied with the way the system operates.

A poll done last June showed 87 percent of people wanted to keep lottery proceeds targeted on the outdoors, Aangeenbrug said.


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