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Two Colorado Coal Communities Receive Federal Grants To Diversify Economies

Economy, North Fork Valley, economic development
Laura Palmisano

Two Colorado communities hard-hit by the downturn in the coal industry received federal grants last week to help diversify their economies.

The Obama administration awarded Region 10, an organization of six counties on the Western Slope, a $1.2 million grant. Moffat County also got $50,000.

In a release, the White House says the funds are for projects that assist communities in diversifying their economies, creating jobs, attracting new investment and providing workforce training. 

Michelle Haynes, the executive director of Region 10, said her organization was eligible for the grant because of its efforts to diversify the local economy as the area loses coal mining jobs. 

"We have identified broadband as a key economic issue and a key barrier to economic development in Delta County," said Haynes. "And, we felt this was a good use of the [funds] to continue leveraging our work in improving the broadband infrastructure in the region."

Earlier this year, Region 10 also received a $5.2 million grant from the state to develop better broadband access in Delta County and eastern Montrose County.

Moffat County plans to use the funds to conduct an economic assessment of the needs and assets in the county and surrounding region, according to the White House.

In total, the Obama administration awarded more than $14.5 million to groups in 12 states.

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