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DURA takes formal action; trail grant denied

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The five members of Delta City Council met as the Delta Urban Renewal Authority Oct. 18. Five resolutions were adopted as part of an effort to revitalize the entity that was formed in 1986.

DURA was established to oversee downtown improvements in the late '80s, but has largely been inactive since. With major economic development projects on the horizon, DURA is being revitalized.

The first of five resolutions designated staff and legal counsel. The second resolution updated DURA's bylaws.

The mayor of the city will serve as DURA chairperson. The mayor pro-tem is the vice chairman and the city manager is the executive director. The city's director of community development will serve as deputy director. The city's finance director is the treasurer, and the city clerk is the secretary.

The five DURA commissioners will be the elected members of the city council; terms shall coincide with the council's terms of office.

Meetings will be held as necessary and will be posted 24 hours in advance as required by Colorado Open Records.

The third resolution formalized an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Delta, and was also approved by the Delta City Council later Tuesday night.

The intergovernmental agreement allows DURA, as necessary, to employ city staff and city funds to conduct activities associated with DURA activities. The city may be reimbursed for actual costs, but not staff time, once a reliable and consistent revenue stream has been established.

The fourth resolution deals with outreach to the taxing bodies that will be asked to share incremental property tax revenue to fund DURA projects. The DURA board will be expanded to include a commissioner appointed by the county commissioners; a commissioner who is a board member of a special district selected by agreement of the special districts levying a mill levy within DURA's boundaries; and an elected member of the Delta County Board of Education.

The resolution also triggers a study of conditions within specific areas of the City of Delta in anticipation of an urban renewal plan. The study will target slum or blighted areas.

The fifth and final resolution clarifies the status of the 1986 urban renewal plan. Tax increment financing can not exceed 25 years, but that type of financing was not employed in 1986. The resolution sets the start of the 25-year period at 2016, providing DURA with the ability to receive tax increment as of the date of the resolution and beyond.

Trail Grant

One focus of DURA is a river activation project that will enhance the city's recreational assets to reposition the community as a destination attraction and community of choice for employers and their workforce.

In keeping with that vision, the Delta County Council applied for a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to complete the first portion of a trail extension from Confluence Park. The trail was to extend under the Highway 50 bridges in North Delta at an estimated cost of $500,000. The city pledged $100,000 in matching funds and applied for a CDOT grant to cover the other $400,000.

Erven said the city's grant application ranked 11th out of 13. The CDOT Transportation Alternative Program, or TAP, is funded every three years, so the city will have to look elsewhere for a project partner.

Federal funds are allocated under TAP to transportation improvement projects that expand travel choice, strengthen the local economy, improve quality of life and protect the environment. Many TAP projects enhance non-motorized forms of transportation like biking and walking. TAP was authorized in 2012 by federal transportation legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), and is now continued under the current federal transportation legislation, Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST).

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