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Bridge Emergency Shelter Seeks Funding For New Building

Austin Cope

The Cortez City Council expressed interest Tuesday night in contributing about $20,000 to the Bridge Emergency Shelter in the form of waiving fees. At their workshop, councilors heard from the homeless shelter’s executive director, Laurie Knutson, about plans to build a $2 million facility on Empire Street. Knutson said the total bill for water and sewer taps, a building permit and other city fees would be about $47,000 and she was asking the council to absorb $20,000 of that. Knutson is seeking to raise at least $200,000 to provide a local match for a grant she is seeking from the state Department of Local Affairs. Montezuma County has deeded land valued at $110,000, and a capital-campaign effort has raised $65,000 so far. The shelter is being forced to move because the county wants to sell the facility’s current home, the old Justice Building at Mildred and Empire. The new structure would have 41 beds for overnight guests on its first floor. The second floor would hold transitional-housing apartments that would be rented for modest amounts. Councilors voiced support for a possible fee waiver. Bob Archibeque commented, “There are a lot of people who are just down on their luck and need help.” City Manager Shane Hale said he would draft a letter for the council to consider at its next meeting.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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