The good news is circulating that Lyons will benefit from over $2.2 million in Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) funds, which are Federal transportation monies channeled through the Denver Regional Council of Governments. To put this in perspective, that is almost twice as much as Lyons has received from all grants combined over the last 10 years, including the stimulus funding for Main Street. Such a large amount of money does not (unfortunately) just fall from the skies and would not have been possible without the cooperation and efforts of a lot of people. I want to give you a glimpse behind the scenes so you know who has had a hand in these successful applications.
The Town of Lyons will receive $1.781 million to extend streetscape enhancements to the eastern portion of Main Street from McConnell Bridge to 3rd Street. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen, Town Engineer Jim Blankenship, and Economic Development Coordinator Jacque Watson brought this project together. Lyons received help from Colorado State University and the Department of Local Affairs to develop the initial conceptual designs based on discussions during the summer with the stakeholders (businesses and property owners) along that stretch. Boulder County’s transportation staff, and in particular Tim Swope, spent many hours poring over plans, reviewing scoring, and helping draft the final submission. Boulder County agreed that the 20% required match for this could be in the from the funding for the stoplight at Stone Canyon ,financed by the County.
The second project that benefits Lyons is a $414,000 expanded bus service project which would extend the Ecopass for 3 more years, increase service on the Y, and establish a Longmont-Lyons bus connection. This represents a significant expansion in service that will transform how we use transit. It would not have been possible without Bonie Shupe, a local citizen with a passion for transit, starting up the community-wide Ecopass idea. Victoria Simonsen and folks from the Sustainable Futures Commission helped develop the proposal. But the big thanks on this one goes to Boulder County. Their transportation staff, in particular Jared Hall and Scott McCarey did all of the heavy lifting in developing the service options and costs and getting RTD’s approval. In fact, Boulder County agreed to being the agency presenting the project and they will handle all of the administrative arrangements for Lyons. The required 20% match comes from Cemex through the Colorado Dept. of Health and Environment. There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free ride in this case.
Getting the two grants submitted on time and with sufficient points was only half the battle. Over the last 4 months, the political horse-trading has been intense as there were many more viable proposals than available money. Victoria, Bonie, and our regional RTD representative John Tayer, all went down to the public hearings in Denver and testified in support for the Lyons projects. They really did us proud among all of the bigger municipalities and counties contending for resources. Boulder County Commissioner Will Toor and Longmont Councilperson Katie Witt were supportive behind the scenes when it counted most.
There were a lot of people rooting for Lyons throughout this process. While the hard work is still ahead of us, last Wednesday it was a particularly sweet moment to be able to cast a vote as Lyons’ representative to DRCOG knowing all of the sweat and tears that went into those two projects being on the final list.
Mayor Julie Van Domelen