There’s a lot of fanfare around grant awards, but what happens after the ceremonial checks are presented and the reporters have published their articles? Our partners get down to business.
For 29 years, GOCO has improved Colorado’s great outdoors with the help of Colorado Lottery proceeds. We’ve put more than $1.4 billion in proceeds back into 5,500 projects to improve the lives of Coloradans across the state.
After projects are awarded funding, grant recipients usually have about two years to make their projects happen.
In recent months, seven projects were completed, representing more than $2.9 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Animas Valley Elementary Playground
$110,000 grant to La Plata County
Animas Valley Elementary School, in partnership with La Plata County, used its School Yard Initiative grant to renovate its 25-year-old playground equipment. The playground provides the Animas Valley community with a safe and engaging space for students to learn and play as the old equipment could no longer sustain the number of students who used it daily.Read a local press release about the project
Eagle Area Collaborative Stewardship
$23,940 grant to the Town of Eagle
With the onset of the pandemic, the Town of Eagle (TOE) witnessed substantial impacts on local trails, open spaces, and federal lands. TOE used its Conservation Service Corps (CSC) grant to partner with the Bureau of Land Management and local trail advocacy groups for three weeks to complete three miles of trail improvements, clean up 750 acres of dispersed camping, remove 1.5 miles of social trails, and treat 15 acres of mowed fuel-breaks for noxious weeds. The project adds to the community’s quality of life and economic livelihood while protecting natural resources.
Learn more about GOCO’s CSC grant
Erie Community Park - Final Phase
$350,000 grant to the Town of Erie
With support from a Local Park & Outdoor Recreation grant, the Town of Erie completed the final phase of the Erie Community Park (pictured above). Known as a central gathering spot, the park is located adjacent to the Erie Community Library, the Erie Community Center, and the Erie Medical Center. The 12-acre site boasts walking trails, basketball courts, a fitness shelter, a turf workout area, a sledding hill with the ability to make snow, an asphalt pump track, and two electric vehicle charging stations among other features. The environmentally conscious park possesses 96,000 square feet of low water variety sod, environmental educational signage at gathering areas, and an environmental awareness-themed playground. Other funding partners included the Department of Local Affairs Energy Impact Assistance Fund, Regional Air Quality Council funds, and the Town of Erie's Park Improvement Impact Fund.
Read a local press release about the project
Heartland Ranch- Jagers Phase II & III
$1,200,000 grant to Southern Plains Land Trust
With the help of a Land Acquisition grant, Southern Plains Land Trust preserved 17,899.8 acres of short grass prairie to expand the Heartland Ranch Preserve in Bent County. This acquisition contributed to the permanent protection of 67 square miles of grasslands, springs, streams, rock-covered mesas, and cottonwood and willow stands. Prairie dog colonies, along with 35 other wildlife species, benefit from the property’s expansion and conservation, which also protects a critical grassland ecosystem globally known as the most endangered type of ecosystem. Heartland Ranch is within an area identified by The Nature Conservancy as high in resilience, connectivity, and biodiversity. This project was also funded with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Quick Response Fund for Nature, private donors, and carbon sales.
Learn more about the project
Keep It Colorado Launch
$500,000 to Keep It Colorado
With funding support from an Open Space grant and the Gates Family Foundation, Keep It Colorado wrapped up the successful relaunch of Colorado’s statewide conservation coalition. In 2018, GOCO invested in the refresh of Keep It Colorado, formerly known as the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, to help ensure and build the capacity, vibrancy, and resiliency of Colorado’s land conservation community. Under the leadership of Melissa Daruna and the guidance of a board of directors, Keep It Colorado continues to unite, elevate, and empower Colorado’s conservation community to protect the lands and waters of our state. The organization’s core focus areas are Policy Advocacy, Member Connections & Coalition Building, Emerging Issues and Sustainability Solutions, and Advancing a Culture of Conservation.
Learn more about Keep It Colorado
Oxbow Natural Area Trail and Trailhead Capacity and Restoration
$330,332 grant to the City of Loveland
With its Resilient Communities grant, the City of Loveland (CL) restored and enhanced the Oxbox Natural Area trail and trailhead. CL formalized the area entryway by adding a soft surface trail that directs pedestrians from the newly constructed vehicle parking areas to the existing trail system. A modern restroom, bike racks, a bike fix-it station, and a new bench were added to the trailhead. The trail itself also received added amenities in the form of nature play features including stump climbers, a linear boulder balancing feature, and an interactive play area. In addition, CL improved drainage along Rossum Drive by land leveling to facilitate drainage and stormwater quality while also restoring native grasses and protecting non-parking areas.
Read more about the project
Sky View Campground at Carter Lake
$475,334 grant to Larimer County
Larimer County experienced an unprecedented visitor demand with the onset of the pandemic, which was amplified by the Cameron Peak Fire. With its Resilient Communities grant, Larimer County constructed a new campground on the east side of Carter Lake Reservoir in southwest Loveland. The 15-site Sky View Campground increased the county’s ability to serve the growing community by accommodating an additional 120 campers per night and 17,000 campers annually.
Read more about the project