If you are a tiny county in Colorado, how do you find the time and expertise to manage the environmental cleanup of an abandoned mine site and transform it into an economic development asset?
If you are Hinsdale County, you seek the assistance of the Colorado Brownfields Foundation which recently provided a grant to assist the county in managing the cleanup necessary to restore a heritage tourism site and ensure safety for visitors.
The Foundation will provide technical assistance to the community in hiring a firm to design cleanup plans and implement the cleanup. As an advocate and representative for the community, CBF will assist in dealings with contractors and regulatory agencies as the cleanup progresses.
Jesse Silverstein, Executive Director of CBF commented on the need for similar grants:
“So many of the communities we work with are limited in their resources and unable to deal with the complexities that Brownfield sites might present and thereby are missing an opportunity. CBF’s technical service grants fill a critical need for these communities with assistance for a cleanup that benefits the environment and the local economy.”
CBF’s grant to Hinsdale County will assist in cleanup of the Ute Ulay Townsite located along Henson Creek just outside of scenic Lake City, Colorado. The townsite consists of about a half dozen structures which are rapidly succumbing to weather and vandalism. The current owner of the site has no use for it and wishes to donate it to the community, but a cleanup is necessary to make the site safe for its intended reuse; a historical interpretive facility.
Hinsdale County also benefitted from the efforts of the Colorado Art Ranch. The group engaged artists and scientists to broadly outline a cleanup and reuse vision which is sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing.
It is now up to CBF and contractors to put some ink to paper and flesh out these plans in a form which can be used to direct cleanup crews. Hinsdale County can now rest assured that the end result will be safe and sustainable.
Colorado Brownfields Foundation is a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit organization dedicated to removing environmental obstacles to economic and community development. CBF partners with communities, local governments, other nonprofits, and commercial enterprises to help reuse and redevelop brownfields sites.