LOOKING BACK ON THE 2013 FLOODS IN LARIMER COUNTY
Recently, I received a report of some CDBG-DR grants that took place in Larimer County, CO. The last page highlighted a project which I was intimately involved in getting off the ground for Larimer County called the Home Access Program.
For those of you not familiar with this grant, it was CDBG-DR funds that were utilized to aid in the rebuild of damaged private roads and crossings from the Floods of 2013 in Colorado. When the dust settles, there will be 43 projects in which a total of $5,538,611 were expended using these funds.
It was the first time I had been a part of (and have been aware of) federal funds being used for private infrastructure and by that very fact, it was exciting to be part of such a unique project. Not to mention the hundreds of site visits (and irreplaceable damage to my vehicle as a result), data collection, applications, prioritization of projects and other tasks involved in getting to these final results. None of these projects could have come to fruition without the incredible staff at Loveland Housing Authority and Larimer County.
Typically, consultants are shuffled in and out based on the task at hand and their skill set. Sometimes this may be a few weeks, sometimes a few months. You come in, do what is asked and move on to the next project, the next client. When I first came to assist Larimer County, I was only supposed to be there for two weeks to train some folks on debris monitoring.
My two weeks turned to two months, then six months and eventually lasted several years. I was taken in as part of the Larimer family, attended BBQs and holiday parties with county staff. I was able to partake and share in the success stories of their recovery firsthand as it was happening including the first of its kind Unmet Needs and Community Fragility Study.
It got my wheels turning. I got to thinking about all the beautiful things that were accomplished in Larimer County in just four short years and the positive impact it has had on the citizens, businesses, and government. And then I got to thinking how fortunate I have been to be able to see many of the positive effects come full circle from inception to completion and witness the impacts through my eyes and not just in a report from other’s recollections. That in itself is extremely rare, yet incredibly fulfilling, and an experience I will not take for granted.