Dave Maxwell
Grant funding of $7,500 from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will help provide assessment studies on renovation to the exterior of the Caliente City Hall.

Mayor Stana Hurlburt reported that after visits recently from Peter Wellish of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Congressman Ruben Kiheun, the city is going to be receiving some supplemental grant money.

Hurlburt said the grant amounts to $7,500 and will enable the city to contract for (1) an assessment of whether the exterior of the Caliente City Hall contains lead based paint, (2) an update of the costs for renovating the exterior of City Hall and (3) assistance in developing a CDBG funding application to the economic development office to make the exterior renovations.

She said testing the paint on the old building to see if it is lead-based is expensive, “and you want to find that out right away in the very beginning. I am very thrilled with the attention we have gotten from the GOED.”

Built in 1923, the Caliente City Hall building served until the early 1970s as the Union Pacific Railroad depot and hotel in Caliente. Anyone who has looked closely can easily see repairs and repainting is needed.

Hurlburt said meetings were held with Wellish and Congressman Kihuen and members of their staff on separate dates in April.

Discussions were also held about being able to keep receiving Low-to-Moderate Income funding. Hurlburt said Caliente is 64.7 percent low-to-moderate income, “the highest percentage in the state. We wanted our public officials to know how important it is for Caliente to remain eligible for CDBG funding which come from Housing and Urban Development. Those funds in the past have built our firehouse, reconditioned Well No. 2, put in French drains, leveraged the new pool building, and more.”

She said, “Caliente is the town that grants built. If this town didn’t get grant funding like we have, we couldn’t afford to make improvements. Mr. Wellish is being helpful in us being able to apply for more funding.”

Among the funding applications, she noted, will be ones that help us have our FEMA floodplain maps redone. A few years ago, FEMA did a study of the town of Caliente and raised the flood plain level to include the entire town as a flood zone, “which dramatically increased nearly everyone’s flood insurance rates,” she said. “Getting funding to have the maps redone will greatly relieve those high insurance rates and CDBG has just given us funds to begin doing that as they are seeing opportunities here to help us with economic development to make improvements to our downtown area. The City Hall building is a great economic development driver in itself.”