By Joseph Lekarczyk In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor
The Doctor has spoken! “Take two million and call me when you’ve completed the projects.” As the crowd was trickling out of the Lyons Area Chamber of Commerce social at Gwynne’s Greenhouse Wednesday (March 16) night, Chamber President Jane Rhode received a text message from Mayor Julie Van Domelen, announcing that the Town of Lyons had been awarded two grants from the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) totaling a little more than two million dollars.
Officials and Staff from the Town have been on pins and needles for the past few months waiting to hear whether or not Lyons’ projects would make the final cut for the federal transportation grant money. DRCOG is the entity that is in charge of dispersing the money for our area, and through a lot of political horse-trading between Boulder County and Denver, both of Lyons’ projects made the grade.
The first project, which will receive approximately 1.8 million dollars in grant money, is a revamping of Main Street, from the Third Avenue intersection east to the McConnell Bridge. New lighting, improvements to the Black Bear Hole parking lot, improvements to the existing pedestrian/bike path along the river, a parking lot along the dirt section of Railroad Avenue (near Valley Bank & Trust), landscaping, a section of sidewalk on the north side of the road (probably from Third Avenue to around the Lyons Village Central plaza), and repair work on the underground utility lines are all scheduled. The second grant (a little over $400,000) would be for an expansion of bus service. The proposed additions would include a mid-day bus on the “Y” route to Boulder, a possible late evening bus from Boulder, weekend service during the summer months, a bus to Longmont during commuter hours, and another three years of the free community Eco-Bus Pass program with RTD.
These grants are an 80/20 match, meaning the recipient must contribute something of value totaling twenty percent of the project in order to qualify for the funding. The Town and Boulder County were able to leverage a proposed stop light at the bottom of Stone Canyon and McConnell Bridge as the Main Street contribution, and some left over CEMEX fine money from nearly three years ago was used for the bus route contribution. The Town of Lyons will also use the cost of the utility line replacements (which were needed anyway) to fill out the remaining monetary requirements. All in all, a very sweet prescription for a small community.
The Mayor noted that the money would not be available until the 2012 cycle, so the projects would start for another nine months at the earliest.