County achieves success with capital projects

Despite pandemic, 80 percent of Garfield County capital projects completed in 2020

February 23, 2021

During a year filled with uncertainty, Garfield County was able to achieve a high percentage of important capital projects benefitting the entire community. Nearly 80 percent of the county’s 97 capital projects were completed in 2020, and six percent were near completion by year’s end. Just one percent of projects did not start, and 14 percent were in the beginning stages.

Capital project goals included an expansion of the apron at the Garfield County Rifle Airport; realignment of the popular Red Hill Recreation Area near Carbondale; numerous improvements at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, replacement of the Garfield County Courthouse roof and more.

Investing in and maintaining existing infrastructure and facilities helped keep costs down and extended the life of many assets. The county’s 12-member Project Management Team ensured that the process moved smoothly from conception and budgeting, through engineering, the bidding process and construction. The team met monthly to review the status of projects, discuss issues, and collaborate to create solutions.

“Infrastructure investment is one of the most impactful things we do as a service provider. It is an investment in the community,” said Garfield County Manager Kevin Batchelder. “Our team approach unifies our departments, which all have various roles from budgeting, to engineering and design, to project scope, to competitive bidding and contract awards and, finally, to project management. This has resulted in better bids and a higher percentage of project completion each year.”

Some major accomplishments in 2020 include:

Red Hill Recreation Area
Through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the town of Carbondale and other entities, new parking and hiking and multi-use trails were constructed, and County Road 107 was realigned into a more streamlined configuration, making the area safer for visitors. The county provided $428,000 toward the CR 107 realignment and new parking construction, all of which was completed by road and bridge.

Airport apron
The expanded parking apron will provide an additional 18,000 square yards, up from its current apron square yardage of 81,300, creating space for up to an additional 18 large aircraft. The county had secured a $3.1 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to cover most of the $3.9 million cost.

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office efficiencies
The sheriff’s office replaced two 20-year-old standard boilers (80% efficiency) in the Garfield County Jail with new high efficiency (96% efficient) boilers and earning a $37,119 rebate check from Black Hills Energy in the process. The new boilers are projected to save $10,703.00 in energy costs annually and reduces the building’s yearly output of carbon dioxide by 74 metric tons. The project cost $687,283.

Safe Routes to School trail
Garfield County completed its section of a 1.4-mile trail connecting the Riverview School to local trail systems, allowing students to walk or bike to school to avoid traveling along busy roads. The county provided a cash match of $150,000 from its capital reserve, as well as $40,000 toward the planning and engineering phases of the project, for a total of $500,000 for the overall project.

Garfield County Courthouse roof replacement
The entire rooftop of the Garfield County Courthouse in Glenwood Springs was replaced, and the historic masonry restored. Drains were also repaired; this project, which cost $461,413, was necessitated by leaks and the old roof being at the end of its useful life.

Howard Avenue parking lot
The county expanded the parking lot on Howard Avenue in Rifle, creating additional parking to accommodate both standard and recreational vehicles (RVs) adjacent to the Garfield County Fairgrounds. To cut costs, the county’s road and bridge department teamed up with a contractor to complete the project. Road and bridge performed the grading, block wall and erosion control, while the contractor covered concrete work, including curbing and gutters, asphalt paving, electrical and landscaping. The entire project cost $270,940.

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