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Six southern Colorado communities could receive some of $92 million in federal funding for local projects

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper recently announced that 62 projects in Colorado have passed a key step to ultimately be funded with federal money that he and fellow senator Michael Bennet requested from Congress.

Local governments and nonprofit organizations applied for the funding that will be awarded next year.

Six communities in southern Colorado are affected; Colorado Springs has three projects, including one with the region's largest award:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

Two projects in Pueblo will be funded:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

The town of Cheraw in Otero County is a recipient:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

Salida in Chaffee County is a beneficiary:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

Trinidad will receive a significant amount:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

Another recipient is the town of Monte Vista in Rio Grande County:

Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

Anthony Rivera-Rodriguez, a spokesman for Hickenlooper, clarified the release Wednesday.

"They way these projects work is that they pass as part of the federal budget," he said. "These projects have been included in the annual budget bills. However, Congress still needs to pass these bills for them to become law and the funding fully approved."

The YWCA in Pueblo plans to convert its former indoor swimming pool into a day care facility for children and families of domestic violence and abuse; the pool was once a popular public venue but closed several years ago when it became too costly to operate and maintain.

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Executive director Maureen White said that the project will help meet the need for affordable, available day care sought by many low-income families.

"We've already received $150,000 from some of the city's share of money from the American Rescue Plan Act," she explained. "We've hired a director who is going through the licensing process now. The city money also will allow us to hire two more staff members."

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The pool area is currently used for storage, and white said that conversion plans are not yet finalized.

"We'll start off small, maybe with a dozen kids or so, and hopefully have as many as 50, eventually," she said. "If we don't get the federal money, we'll go ahead with the plan. It will just be more of a challenge to acquire funding."

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The pool opened in 1936 and was a gift from the prominent Thatcher family.

White said that the YWCA's mission has always been to help women: Starting as housing for single working women, then shifting its focus to domestic violence in the 1980s and operating a shelter for victims and offering programs to help young women.

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"We should know by this fall if we get the money," she said.

Air Force Academy spokesman Dean Miller said that the installation applied for funding because of the dwindling amount of space for burials at the academy's cemetery.

"Approximately 2,200 eligible members have been buried or memorialized since the first burial in 1958," he said. "In the last decade, the average number of internments have more than doubled and that number is anticipated to steadily increase."

Air Force Academy

Miller said that the current number of available cemetery plots will support projected burials until sometime in 2026; the proposed expansion would create 1,200 new plots.

Only cadets, graduates and dependents of eligible personnel are allowed their final rest at the cemetery, he said.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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