Valley governments try collaborating | AspenTimes.com

Valley governments try collaborating

Aspen Times Staff
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Regional cooperation between governments in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys gets a lot of lip service, but now a nonprofit organization is trying to put it into play.

Carbondale-based Healthy Mountain Communities is seeking a grant from the Colorado Office of Smart Growth to fund planning efforts on three major issues facing the area: Financing for affordable housing, planning on a specific transit-oriented project, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Healthy Mountain Communities has hosted meeting between the mayors of towns from Aspen to De Beque for the last two years. The mayors agree they want to pursue efforts that help create affordable, energy-smart communities, according to Colin Laird, executive director of the organization.

They are putting taxpayer money behind the effort. Matching funds must be raised locally to qualify for the state grant. Healthy Mountain Communities is seeking $50,000 from the state, so it needs to raise that same amount locally.

The Basalt Town Council voted 4-2 this week to contribute $3,000. Others who donated to the cause so far are: Aspen for $10,000; Carbondale for $5,000; Pitkin County for $7,000; and Garfield County for $15,000.

Funds also are being sought from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Snowmass Village, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and De Beque.

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“This grant program is specifically designed to support regional collaboration amongst local government and their efforts to address interconnected issues,” Laird wrote to the various officials. Laird said the state will likely determine grant recipients late this year or early in 2008.