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County denies ski jump funding

Susan Cunningham

Routt County commissioners answered the Colorado Ski Heritage Project’s request for $141,000 with a resounding “no.”

At a meeting Tuesday, county commissioners said they supported the project to make a K-68 jump usable year-round, but they would not consider giving such a large grant to a single project during a year when funding mandatory county responsibilities — such as road maintenance, law enforcement and employee salary increases — was difficult.

“We are right now struggling with funding what I call our statutory requirements of county government,” Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said during the meeting.

Earlier, Stahoviak said the request was larger than any the county has ever received.

Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison called the request a “slap in the face” during a tight budget year.

Instead, county commissioners approved a $2,000 grant from the county’s discretionary budget, which was $10,000 for the year.

Representatives for the Colorado Ski Heritage said they appreciated the $2,000, and that they did not mean for the request to insult the county.

“Please do not feel like this was a slap in the face,” said John Kurst. “We as a group are turning over rocks” to find the last dollars needed for the project.

The project to enlarge and add plastic to the K-68 jump at Howelsen Hill, making the jump usable during the summer, is one-third complete, and has been funded through various sources, most notably through a $1.2 million grant from the state’s Energy Impact Fund.

The city of Steamboat Springs has granted about $225,000 toward parts of the project, as well as an emergency $260,000 to repair and stabilize the K-114 jump.

After the meeting, Rick DeVos, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, said he understood that the county had a full plate with a lot of large projects, including construction of a new justice center.

“Our timing isn’t great, and we apologize for that,” DeVos said.

He said the group plans to ask for small grants from a dozen organizations to raise at least $41,000, which would meet the project’s overall fund-raising goal.

That $41,000 will go toward the project’s original fund-raising goal of almost $2.6 million. The additional $100,000 requested of the county would have gone toward purchasing stairs along the jump. The group will look to raise that money in the future, DeVos said.

County commissioners said they supported the project, and hoped organizers could find the needed funds.

Stahoviak said that the county showed substantial support when it applied for and received a $1.2 million challenge grant from the state’s Energy Impact Fund. The county also gave $5,000 toward a design and engineering plan for the project.

“That demonstrates the county’s commitment to the project,” Stahoviak said.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com


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