The town of Palisade will not be able to use federal CARES Act funding to purchase a new ambulance or make other longterm investments, Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said.

The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which is distributing the COVID-19 relief money, said longterm and capital expenses are not included in the types of expenses that are covered, Hawkinson said.

The expenses had to be in response to COVID-19 and be unbudgeted. Hawkinson said the town wanted to purchase a new ambulance because the town’s current ambulance doesn’t meet all the guidelines related to the pandemic.

“We thought we could,” Hawkinson said. “We were proposing to purchase an ambulance with the money so we have a COVID compliant ambulance, but we can’t now. So that was our goal, but we received more information that the CARES Act doesn’t fund it.”

The town is also proposing to potentially use CARES Act money to fund more permanent “parklets” — small enclosed areas that provide seating in the downtown area.

The town has converted a small number of on-street parking spaces into parklets to allow restaurants to have more space to socially distance customers. Hawkinson said the Board of Trustees at its Tuesday meeting approved pursuing a Main Street Grant through the Department of Transportation to fund the project as well.

The permanent parklets would fence in a small area and could include seating, planters, bike racks and shade structures.

“It’s been really popular actually,” Hawkinson said. “So with the parklets what we’ve looked at is, can we use CARES Act funding to make more year-round ones? We don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that.”

In other business, the Board of Trustees approved a purchase agreement for the dirt parking lot between Kluge Avenue and Main Street. The parking lot will serve as parking for the Palisade Plunge, which ends in downtown Palisade. The town is utilizing a Great Outdoors Colorado grant for the purchase. It plans to ultimately pave the lot, but does not have funding for that part of the project yet.

The trustees approved improvements to the playground at Riverbend Park, including a zip line for children.

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