Wyoming Business Council Rejects Casper’s $500K Request for River Rehabilitation
The Wyoming Business Council's board of directors on Thursday did not recommend a $500,000 grant request from the Casper City Council for the rehabilitation of a half-mile segment of the North Platte River, according to a news release.
However, the denial of the community enhancement grant does not kill the entire project of improving wildlife habitat, and improving the banks and appearance of about 2,700 feet of the river immediately downstream of the former BP-Amoco refinery to the BNSF bridge, Assistant City Manager Jolene Martinez said in an email.
The city also would have used some of the money to buy property, and build a boat dock and parking lot at the river's intersection with West B Street, according to its grant application
The news release did not say why the board of directors turned down the request.
Martinez has overseen much of the river rehabilitation project including the first two phases along Morad Park and the water treatment plant.
In April, she outlined the $2 million project for the next phase to the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board, and asked it for $200,000 in part to show the Wyoming Business Council how the community seriously regards the rehabilitation.
The other funding would come from Optional One-Cent Sales Tax revenues, and some would come from the Wyoming Wildlife & Natural Resource Trust.
Martinez told the ARAJPB that the Business Council approved two $500,000 grants in the past. The city made a similar request for this phase, but the council wanted a further commitment from the community, hence the $200,000 request.
Thursday, she said the base of the project will start on Oct. 1 as long as the river flow is about 500 cubic feet per second.
But other aspects of the project such as the boat ramp, parking lot, and park structures will not proceed until the city obtains other funding, Martinez said.
There still may be a chance for some funding despite the Business Council's action Thursday. The State Loan and Investment Board, composed of the five statewide elected officials, will meet Oct. 3 and still may consider the city's request, she said.
Besides the decision about the river rehabilitation project, the Business Council approved the request from the Town of Alpine for $2.3 million for a modular pretreatment system and sludge handling facility at the town's wastewater treatment plant, according to the news release.