RIO GRANDE COUNTY — Rio Grande County Commissioners met for a special meeting on Wednesday, April 7 to present $100,000 from the county’s conservation trust fund to the City of Monte Vista to help with costs associated with the new recreation facility and event center being built in Monte Vista.
Commissioners met with the friends of Ski Hi during their regular meeting the previous week and listened to a presentation by Friends of Ski Hi member Karla Shriver and Kathy Woods. Several organizations that host events at the site were in attendance to show support for the project.
During the presentation, Shriver pointed out some of the funding that was originally supposed to help with costs did not come through due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the project was short which led to the request for additional conservation trust fund monies.
To date, Rio Grande County has approved $250,000 for the project which is expected to be finished in time for the annual Ski Hi Stampede. Commissioners voiced concern that other entities had not been asked to dedicate funding to the project and requested that the Friends of Ski HI continue its efforts to seek funding from other organizations and city or county boards before agreeing to the additional $100,000 from the conservation trust fund.
During the meeting on March 31, the board also discussed the possibility that additional funding may be available through the COVID Relief Fund that will be coming in from the state since the recreational event center was hindered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though commissioners were unsure if this project would fall under the guidelines set by the state for the use of COVID Relief Funding, they plan to research the possibility and will approve additional funding if it is approved by the state.
The Ski Hi Complex is a large facility geared toward hosting events that occur in Monte Vista throughout the year, including the Ski Hi Stampede, Crane Festival, Agricultural Conference and many more. The facility will have volleyball and basketball courts and meeting space for conferences. The need for the building was debated over the course of two years before the project got off the ground last June.
The Friends of Ski HI have provided several different types of statistics and economic studies to lay those concerns to rest and that show the large amount of economic growth that occurs when an event is held in the area. The organization is hopeful that the completion of the project will bring future growth to the Valley and offer a much-needed venue for large conferences as well as offer a recreational center for the public. The building has also been built to serve as an emergency shelter should the need arise.