Congressman Joe Neguse visits Grand County
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse visited Grand County on Thursday, stopping in Granby to meet with town managers from Granby, Fraser and Winter Park, as well as Grand County Housing Authority staff.
The local officials met with Neguse at the Grand Fire Protection District building before driving down U.S. Highway 40 to where the “halfway pathway” ends. There, Neguse spoke with the attendees about the pathway project, which Neguse helped secure federal funding in January to complete.
Granby has been working on the pathway since at least 2013, but ran out of funding during its original construction. The current sidewalk runs from Kaibab Park to the Grand Elk Golf Course maintenance building, where it abruptly stops.
The completion of the sidewalk will extend it from the golf course maintenance building City Market with the $1.325 million Neguse and other Colorado legislators acquired for the project from the omnibus funding bill’s Congressionally Directed Spending.
After visiting the end of the sidewalk, Neguse and the local leaders returned to the fire district building’s board room. There, Neguse asked the others what sort of issues their communities are facing and how he could help.
Attendees spoke about projects their towns are working on relating to affordable housing, economic development and transportation, among other things. Granby Town Manager Ted Cherry brought up child care, saying that although Granby has two child care facilities, the waitlist between them sits at around 250 kids.
Neguse told the group that other areas, like Summit County, have had success obtaining federal funds for regional child care facilities and suggested Grand County towns could apply for something similar next year.
“I don’t know that there has been, at least in the last 20 years, the volume of federal funding available for a wide range of needs that a community might have,” Neguse said.
The 2nd Congressional District representative mentioned a federal grant that Grand County EMS recently applied for through his office. He also spoke about state-level funding, saying his office would be happy to write letters of recommendation for projects seeking money from state-level departments.
Neguse made a point of talking about post office issues and wildfire prevention and recovery before he left. Brad White, the Grand Fire Protection District chief, spoke about the county’s districts updating their wildfire protection plan and emphasized the need for more money for wildfire prevention in the county.
“When we look at what’s being spent on the other side of the divide — Arapaho (and) Roosevelt (National Forests) have got about $54 million in two years over there,” White said. “We would love it if they would spend some money on this side.”
Neguse talked about pressuring the U.S. Forest Service to spend more money in certain watersheds and forests that have not seen as much wildfire mitigation funding, and said he would like to talk with White further about what Grand Fire and other county fire districts need.
On the topic of post offices, Granby Mayor Josh Hardy said that the postal staff in his town have been swamped with work, and Cherry pointed out that the Granby post office has run out of postal boxes, sending some residents to set up boxes in Grand Lake.
Grand Lake’s post office acted as an example for Neguse, who said specific requests, like Grand Lake constituents asking for Saturday morning package pickup, make it easier for his office to pressure regional postal managers to make things happen.
Sheena Darland of the Grand County Housing Authority breifly spoke about the acquisition of the Black Bear Lodge last year, as well as other projects and programs the authority offers, before Neguse had to leave to get to another meeting with community leaders in Kremmling.
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