Cripple Creek Snags Major Grant for Teller One Improvements; Work to Occur in 2017
A long-awaited infrastructure project on Teller One in Cripple Creek has finally hit pay dirt.
As a result, one of the more dangerous curves outside the downtown will get addressed, and local residents and school kids will discover much better prospects for walking between the school and the grocery store and medical plaza.
Last week, City Administrator Ray DuBois announced the successful award of a $835,616 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for a major project that the city has eyed for about five years. “Your project was reviewed based on a variety of factors, such as its connection to energy impact, degree of need, measureable outcomes, amount of request, relations to community goals, level of local match and community support, management capacity and readiness to go,” stated Iv Halter, executive director of DOLA, when announcing the successful award.
With this contribution, the city is now set to proceed with a major infrastructure enhancement in this part of town, encompassing a total price tag of $1.9 million. The city has also received funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation. In addition, the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company agreed to contribute $100,000, as long as the city obtained the necessary grant funds from the state to allow the project to move forward.
The project will deal with improving a dangerous curve on Teller One near the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery and will provide sidewalk and trail access from the CC/V schools to the Venture Foods grocery store and the medical plaza. The idea of pedestrian access to this service sector in Cripple Creek has been a top goal of city leaders for some time.
DuBois stated last week that the actual work should get underway next years He said the planning of the infrastructure enhancements will get finalized this year.
“This is really good news,” said the city administrator. “We plan to move dirt on this in early 2017.”
With these grants and contributions, the city will only have to foot the bill for about 10 percent of the total costs.
The news, however, is not all good on the state grant front.
The city fell short in its recent effort to obtain a major grant for constructing the Mountain View Adventure Park. On this particular effort, the city was trying to secure funds from Great Outdoors Colorado. “We just missed it.” said DuBois, who believes the city may be successful in another round of grants for this project.
This project would have paved the way for major improvements for this park that currently sports a BMX track. Plans for this adventure park were unveiled during a series of community meetings.
Teller County Facing Housing Crisis
Teller County, and especially Woodland Park, is facing a near affordable housing crisis.
That’s the conclusion of a new affordable housing needs assessment study for Teller County, compiled by John Prior, Prior and Associates and involving a community-wide steering group, headed by Woodland Park Councilman John Schafer.
Schafer briefly discussed the findings at last week’s Woodland Park council meeting, and didn’t mince words. He noted that the area was confronting an outright crisis situation. “We have a definite urgent need,” said Schafer. For Woodland Park alone, he said the study estimated that the town needs at least 625 new multi-family units right now, just to swim above troubled waters in the housing arena. Moreover, the councilman said that many people are currently spending more than 50 percent of their income on monthly rent and housing payments. “That’s a terrible situation,” said Schafer.
The study deals with current and housing needs from now to 2025. Based on the study’s conclusion, the Teller County area is currently lacking in 2,922 units just to catch-up with demands. And by the end of 2025, it will need 5,638 more affordable dwellings just to make ends meet. This crisis situation is accentuated by such factors as the development of Charis Bible College, more growth in the area and a doubling of the senior population. The situation is quite drastic in Woodland Park, with the City Above The Clouds needing about 4,100 new affordable units over the next decade.
“Affordable housing is needed now,” stated the study authors.
The study does compile a number of suggestions for ways to grapple with the problem, such as more aggressive tactics that government leaders may want to consider, such as establishing a land bank, changing its fee policies and doing inclusionary zoning. However, some of these have been rejected in the past.
According to Schafer, basic market conditions aren’t working in addressing the crisis. “To date, the numbers don’t work,” said the councilman.
Schafer said he plans to make a presentation before the Teller County commissioners shortly.