The city of Durango is preparing to apply for at least $5.5 million in grants, including $1.5 million for solar panels at the city's water-treatment plant, from President Obama's American Recovery Investment Act.
Staff members have applied or are preparing to apply for four grants, said Sherri Dugdale, Durango's special-projects coordinator. Only two of the projects are on the city's Jan. 29 stimulus wish list: a $1.5 million request to install photovoltaic panels at the city's water-treatment plant and a request for $4 million from a pool of $1.1 billion in Federal Aviation Administration funds to rebuild the general aviation parking apron at the Durango-La Plata County Airport.
"We're on their priority list, so I expect that one to come through," Dugdale said of the airport funding request.
If granted, the money for the water-treatment plant would allow the plant to operate almost exclusively off the standard power grid.
"It would pretty much run the whole plant - mixing, chemical feed pumps, air compressors. It's a very industrial operation, but it's mostly just electric," said Robert Ludwig, the treatment plant superintendent.
A third grant request will be submitted in the coming weeks asking for Durango's share, about $62,000, of a Justice Assistance Grant from the Department of Justice for local law enforcement.
The grant is part of a formula grant system and is not on the city's wish list to tap into more than $800 billion in stimulus money, but the federal funds are earmarked for local law-enforcement agencies.
Dugdale said the fourth request, also not on the January wish list, is a request for a share of $156 million to retrofit city diesel vehicles and equipment with cleaner-burning engines.
The grant would come from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, but Dugdale said the General Services department hasn't decided on a formal request amount.
"We just got information about this one last week and (Roy Peterson, director of General Services) is working on the total request. But that one looks good, too," she said.
Dugdale spoke Monday from Washington where she is lobbying for federal funds for local projects. Dugdale visited with U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall on Monday and is meeting with U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Manassa, today.
The local appropriations requests include $7 million for a new recycling facility that would allow all materials to be disposed of in one container; $500,000 to complete a technology upgrade on eight Durango Police Department patrol cars to install wireless communication systems; a $125,000 request in partnership with Durango School District 9-R for the installation of a Safe School System for first-responders; and a $75,000 request in partnership with Trout Unlimited, Animas River Keepers, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the San Juan Citizens Alliance for a watershed study of Lightner Creek.
The balance of Durango's federal stimulus wish list totals more than $60 million.
Included is a remodel of the former public library, sidewalk replacement in downtown Durango and an additional $4 million for the Florida Road reconstruction plan to include improvements at 32nd Street and East Animas Road.