Town delays decision on latest GGP request

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    The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership has asked the Town of Pagosa Springs to significantly change the nature of the relationship between the two entities, but the town council, at its most recent meeting, hedged, putting off any decisions on the proposal until more research could be conducted.

    According to its website, the mission of the GGP is, “To harness renewable solar and geothermal energy in growing safe, affordable food for local people; provide an attraction for visitors year round; create educational opportunities; nurture local businesses and create jobs; cultivate community pride and develop economic vitality and sustainability.”

    In essence, the GGP plans to build three geodesic dome greenhouses and use geothermal energy to help grow agricultural products. While the project would be a demonstration of how such an agricultural business could work, the main point of the project is educational.

    Town Manager Greg Schulte began the presentation to town council by outlining the history of the GGP and its project.

    Almost five years ago, in February of 2010, the town leased a small portion of Centennial Park to the Southwest Land Alliance. The town also gave SLA a tap into the town’s geothermal water supply.

    In 2012, the GGP obtained its own 501(c)3 nonprofit designation from the IRS, meaning it no longer needed to operate under the umbrella of the SLA, so the town transferred its lease and water tap agreement from the SLA to the GGP. Since then, the town has also pledged $25,000 in seed money toward the project.

    Other groups have pledged monetary support for the project, as well. The Laura Jean Musser Foundation and the San Juan Basin Roundtable have each promised $25,000, while the Colorado Water Conservation Board has promised $50,000.

    In other words, the GGP now has $125,000, and now it would like to use this money as matching funds to apply for a grant from the Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Funds.

    These funds come from the state’s severance tax on energy and mineral production — along with the state’s share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining and drilling on federal land — and are meant to assist political subdivisions that are socially and/or economically impacted by energy and mineral production.

    By Ed Fincher

    Staff Writer

    The Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership has asked the Town of Pagosa Springs to significantly change the nature of the relationship between the two entities, but the town council, at its most recent meeting, hedged, putting off any decisions on the proposal until more research could be conducted.

    According to its website, the mission of the GGP is, “To harness renewable solar and geothermal energy in growing safe, affordable food for local people; provide an attraction for visitors year round; create educational opportunities; nurture local businesses and create jobs; cultivate community pride and develop economic vitality and sustainability.”

    In essence, the GGP plans to build three geodesic dome greenhouses and use geothermal energy to help grow agricultural products. While the project would be a demonstration of how such an agricultural business could work, the main point of the project is educational.

    Town Manager Greg Schulte began the presentation to town council by outlining the history of the GGP and its project.

    Almost five years ago, in February of 2010, the town leased a small portion of Centennial Park to the Southwest Land Alliance. The town also gave SLA a tap into the town’s geothermal water supply.

    In 2012, the GGP obtained its own 501(c)3 nonprofit designation from the IRS, meaning it no longer needed to operate under the umbrella of the SLA, so the town transferred its lease and water tap agreement from the SLA to the GGP. Since then, the town has also pledged $25,000 in seed money toward the project.

    Other groups have pledged monetary support for the project, as well. The Laura Jean Musser Foundation and the San Juan Basin Roundtable have each promised $25,000, while the Colorado Water Conservation Board has promised $50,000.

    In other words, the GGP now has $125,000, and now it would like to use this money as matching funds to apply for a grant from the Department of Local Affairs Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Funds.

    These funds come from the state’s severance tax on energy and mineral production — along with the state’s share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining and drilling on federal land — and are meant to assist political subdivisions that are socially and/or economically impacted by energy and mineral production.

    The full version of this story is available in the print edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100.