It means there are more than 200,000 people living in the county, outside of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area. Whoa, pardner!
Don’t get too excited. A lot of wide open space remains in the county, hwich encompasses more than 2, 158 square miles or more than twice the area of Rhode Island!
There’s no denying, however, it is growing. By 2010, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs projects El Paso County’s population at 649,217, which would make it the most populous county in the state.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds. The designation as “urban” qualifies the county as an “entitlement community” and makes it eligible to become a direct receipient of lucrative Community Development Block Grants, a program started in 1974 for “neighborhood stabilization” projects designed to provide decent housing, economic opportunities and repair infrastructure for low-income Americans.
In Colorado, HUD distributes CDBG grants both 14 cities and 4 counties and to the state for distribution to small communities. In Colorado, HUD has given millions in response to mortgage foreclosures that have devastated many neighborhoods. Follow this link to its budget.
Here are some of the headlines from HUD’s work in Colorado in recent months:
|02/19/09||Obama Administration Awards Nearly $19.5 Million in Homeless Grants to Local Housing and Service Programs in Colorado|
Colorado Springs has been a CDBG entitlement community for years and used the money to refurbish low-income residents’ homes and pave miles of sidewalks, curbs and gutters among other projects in selected “Neighborhood Improvement Areas.”
In the past, El Paso County stood in line with dozens of smaller Colorado towns and counties and only received about $2.5 million over 15 years. Already, it is approved to receive $1 million for 2009, thanks to its new urban designation. Here is a look at the El Paso County Community Development Block Grant program.
The county has hired Tiffany Colvert to oversee the program. Here is her contact information:
Community Development Specialist
27 E. Vermijo, 5th Floor
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
719-520-6476, fax 719-520-6486