Panel OKs 
fund request 
for changes
 at GJ center

The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee approved giving the Colorado Department of Human Services $1.1 million Tuesday to start its plan to close the D Road campus of the Grand Junction Regional Center.

But the six-member panel that drafts the state’s annual spending plan also wants the department to give it a detailed report on how residents of that campus will be relocated, what services it will continue to provide and what will happen to the campus once it is closed.

“We don’t see the big plan or what they’re trying to do here,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley. 

Last month, the department unveiled a plan to build four to six new homes for the 22 intellectually or developmentally disabled residents who live in dilapidated buildings on the campus, and close or relocate other operations there, such as its laundry service and garage.

The department also plans to, through attrition, do away with five or six building maintenance workers who currently help maintain the 46-acre campus.

But because of the new home setting — the department already has 10 other community homes in the valley for other clients — the current level of staffing is required to remain the same.

Currently, the department employs about 300 people in the Grand Valley.

Young said he’s concerned that without a detailed plan about what the department plans to do, such as with its day services, he’s uncomfortable giving it more money without more details.

As a result, the committee is sending a letter asking the department to provide that plan, including a timeline for what will happen when, such as building the new homes for the residents, and ultimately selling off the campus.

The department hasn’t said exactly how much it will ask the state for to complete the move, but has said that each home it builds for the campus residents could cost about $1.7 million each.

By law, the department is required to provide quarterly reports to the Legislature if it can’t close the campus by next summer, which it doesn’t expect to do. Those reports are supposed to begin by June, and include a timeline for when the department can complete its plan, which it has already said won’t be until near the summer of 2019.  The JBC wants those reports to start in January.


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