Xcel Craig powerplant.jpeg

Xcel Energy’s Craig coal-fired powerplant

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday awarded $8.5 million to northwest Colorado to support the region’s efforts to diversify local coal-dependent economies.

The grants are part of the federal Coal Communities Commitment from the Economic Development Administration — allocating $300 million from the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic. The program aims to help communities create new jobs and opportunities as coal mines and power plants close throughout the nation.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our coal communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These EDA investments will create new opportunities for economic and industry diversification in northwest Colorado.”

The town of Hayden will get $5.2 million of the funds to pay for roadway and water infrastructure to help develop an industrial park to bring new businesses to the community. In addition to the grant, state and local funds will invest $712,341 in the project, which is expected to create 79 jobs and generate $12 million in private investment, according to estimates from Hayden.

The city of Craig will receive a $3.3 million grant to construct a multi-use park and river access corridor along the Yampa River in an effort to boost tourism and outdoor recreation. State and local funds will add $1.4 million in funding to the project. The city estimates the project will create 129 jobs and generate $16.3 million in private investment. 

“These federal grants will help create over 200 new good-paying jobs in Craig and Hayden and boost Colorado’s strong economy, and we appreciate Secretary Raimondo for supporting Colorado communities,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “These federal grants build on our work supporting hardworking Coloradans and expanding economic growth across our state.”

The Economic Development Administration closed applications for its American Rescue Plan-funded grant programs in May, but funds will continue to be awarded through Sept. 30.

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