‘Once in a lifetime’: Hayden gets $5.2 million to diversify economy as factory shutdowns loom

Steam rises from Hayden Station in 2017. On January 4, Excel Energy announced that it will close his first unit in 2027 and his second unit in 2028.

The town of Hayden will receive $5.2 million in federal grants for a regional industrial park project that it hopes will mitigate the impact of Hayden Station closing by the end of 2010.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Tuesday, Aug. 9, that Hayden and neighboring Craig — another community behind a soon-to-be-closed coal-fired power plant — will receive a total of $8.5 million. America’s rescue plan.

The prize money for Hayden will be enough to bring in enough money for a planned industrial park near the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, said town manager Matthew Mendisco.

“We believe this business park will be something of an agent for change in the valley,” said Mendisco. “It will give many local businesses the opportunity to expand where they may not have been before.”

The industrial park project, like the one in Sheridan, Wyoming, began as one aspect of a proposal for funding through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The project helped diversify the economy based on extractive and tourism industries.

Although the regional proposal was not ultimately selected, Mendisco shifted to keeping the project alive and seeking funding from the United States Economic Development Agency.

“We’ve worked hard for this,” Mendisco said. “By placing many companies in a centralized location, it benefits the entire valley.”

The grant will fund infrastructure such as roads, water and sewerage on land officially annexed to the town last week. The idea is that a parcel could be purchased or leased by a business and ready to build whatever the business needs.

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The goal of the industrial park is to provide local businesses looking to expand their business with the option of staying in the Yampa Valley. Attracting new companies is not a bad thing, but Mendisco said the project is focused on maintaining and expanding businesses that already exist.

Mayor Zach Westwald said, “Moving away from coal in the valley is a step in the right direction for the Hayden community to expand economically.” must find a way to weather the storm economically.”

As Wuestewald prepares for the closure of Hayden Station, an Excel Energy-owned power plant that is set to close by the end of 2028, there is still work to be done before Hayden has a specific future. emphasized that there are many

Hayden’s schools, fire department, library district and other organizations now get 55% to 65% of their funding from property taxes paid by the power plant.

“If we lose the tax revenue that we’re going to lose, we’re going to be in big trouble,” said Wuestewald. “I don’t have an answer, but it would be reassuring to have some blueprints.”

The funding came from EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which provided communities across the country with $500 million in these grants.

Mendisco called this a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. Because this particular program allows matches that are less important in local fundraising. Had Hayden needed half of his $5.2 million grant, the project probably wouldn’t have been possible for his town of 2,000 residents.

The federal government’s $5.2 million, matched by more than $700,000 in local and state funding, is estimated to create about 80 jobs and about $12 million in private investment.

“Over the years, as we have visited communities in northwest Colorado, we have heard concerns about how the closure of the coal mines and power plants will affect Main Street, schools and ways of life.” , U.S. Senator Michael Bennett said Democrats, in a statement on the fundraising.

“These federal grants will help coal communities like Craig and Hayden attract new businesses, create new jobs, and help diversify and thrive local economies,” he continued.

Mendisco said the next step in the project would be to formally purchase the land in question using funds the town already had from the Colorado Department of Fair Transitions. That office was set up to help communities lose a significant chunk of their economy as Colorado has set some of the most aggressive emissions reduction targets in the country.

He said the design work will be completed by the end of December and the project will be available for tender in January.

“This project was meant to sustain and grow our local business,” said Mendisco. “We can sustainably create more jobs here and invest in the future and the businesses that are already here.”

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