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High costs may stop Longmont from building demonstration garden

The city received a $20,000 grant from Northern Water, but bids for working are coming in over the $100,000 budget for the project.
Sandstone Ranch (2 of 6)
Sandstone Ranch (Photo by Matt Maenpaa)

Longmont received a grant from Northern Water to build a demonstration garden at Sandstone Ranch, but may not be able to complete the work after bids came in over budget.

Northern Water recently awarded $275,000 in grants for 16 new projects for its fifth year of the Water-Efficient Landscape Grant Program. Grants ranged from $2,500 to $20,000 for projects that include irrigation system upgrades, transitions to water-wise plantings, native grass conversions, incorporation of soil amendments and more.

Longmont received $20,000 from Northern Water for the construction of a 7,000-square-foot xeric demonstration garden at Sandstone Ranch Nature Area with an upgraded and more efficient irrigation system. Longmont Ecosystem Manager Jim Krick said it would follow a design that the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservation District helped pay for last year.

The garden would sit south of the visitor and learning center utilizing a space that is currently weeds and in need of restoration, Krick added.

“We have hit a snag though in that the bids that we received from contractors came in significantly over our budget of $100,000,” he said.

The city is currently working at ways to reduce the cost of the garden and find other funding sources. With that in mind, Krick couldn’t offer a timeline as to when the project would be completed, noting the possibility that if Longmont can’t make the budget work they may not be able to do the project.

With this year’s funding, Northern Water has contributed about $850,000 in grants to 63 projects.