Williams Preserve to get upgrade | SteamboatToday.com

Williams Preserve to get upgrade

Avi Salzman

— The city-owned Williams Preserve property will get a $9,250 upgrade thanks to a grant from the Colorado Youth Corps Association’s Land Stewardship Partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado.

Members of the Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps will repair fences and improve irrigation ditches at the Williams Preserve just south of town. The 93-acre parcel is between River Road and the Yampa River and is a working hay meadow.

Currently, the city is leasing the hay meadow to a private rancher and will use the grant money to pay for irrigation improvements and fence building, said Mike Neumann, the city’s open space supervisor.

Neumann said the project will likely get under way by early May.

Also funded to the tune of $2,000 was the Community Agricultural Alliance’s fence day project, which is a collaborative one-day affair that began this past year.

The Community Youth Corps is a city group supervised by Jeff Berens of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Berens said the corps offers young people between the ages of 14 and 16 the opportunity to get a summer job where they can work outside and learn about the environment while helping the community.

“We provide a means to give them job training, give them environmental training, and basically get them involved in the community,” Berens said.

The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps is not directly connected to the city, though it sometimes works on city projects.

The corps works by obtaining contracts with organizations and using that money to pay young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to work on projects, said Avrom Feinberg, the program director. The young people make between $240 and $300 per week. They are also eligible for educational aid money based on how much they work.

The city’s proposal was one of 17 proposals requesting funding for 31 weeks of work. Fourteen of those projects received funding, for a total of 20 weeks of work by local youth corps organizations.

The Colorado Youth Corps Association has developed a network of statewide youth corps organizations that can help their communities. It also provides accreditation to the groups.

Colorado is unique because it has a consortium of youth organizations that work to achieve regional goals.

Other states usually have one central youth corps that organizes projects in different parts of the state, Feinberg said.

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