Costilla County Receives Grants from USDA
On September 11 in San Luis, Sallie Clark, state director of USDA Rural Development, presented two important grants to Costilla County.
Grant for Emergency Radio Equipment
A USDA grant of $37,450 will be used to purchase six Very High Frequency (VHF) radios and a base station to assist with emergency response in the county.
The county’s communications system went down during the June 2018 Spring Fire, the third-largest fire in Colorado history, burning over 108,000 acres near La Veta Pass.
First responders were unable to contact each other during the fire when the radio tower and digital trunk radio system went down. The road to the radio tower on La Veta Pass was also damaged. Loss of the radio tower also hampered redundancy with surrounding facilities, needed to help agencies communicate in the fire zone.
The new radio repeater will increase the distance for clear communication, up to 100 miles, and provide better coverage over variable topography, covering all of Costilla County.
Grant for CCCD San Luis Heritage Learning Lab
A Community Facilities Grant of $36,700 was also presented to Costilla County Conservancy District (CCCD) board secretary Ronda Lobato in recognition of the district’s support to establish a high-tech learning lab focusing on the cultural, historical and ecological heritage of the land and water within the district boundaries.
The funds will help the district empower and educate the community on historic preservation, and preserve and protect the area’s natural resources. The learning lab will be home to historic archives from the establishment of San Luis as Colorado’s first and oldest incorporated community in 1851 up to recent developments.
Learning lab computers will be available free of charge to the public, with staff available for assistance. Resources include oral histories from some of the area’s oldest residents.
A meeting room is available at the CCCD office in San Luis. It has been used for historic meetings about the acequias, the ancient irrigation system still in use; the Vega, one of the nation’s last commons; and work with historians to document evidence of other area peoples.
USDA Rural Development provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area.
Note: when checked on 10/5/2019, the website for Costilla County Conservancy District has been removed. Ronda Lobato is currently the Costilla County Deputy Assessor/Chief Appraiser.
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