More funds for flume?

Historical society works to secure grant for study

Keywords: Poll question,

The Cortez Historical Society is hoping to receive grant funding to do more work on a piece of Montezuma County history.

Cortez Historical Society Board President Linda Towle asked the Montezuma County Commission last month to approve a second grant application to continue the study of the McElmo Creek Flume before deciding what to do.

Towle said the mini-grant would come from the Colorado State Historical Fund and would be worth about $13,875, though there is a 25 percent or $4,600 match that would be required to receive the grant.

Towle said all of the work and research has been done on the flume’s wood through its previous grant, but no study has been done on the concrete barriers and the steel beams that has been holding up the wooden parts.

The foundation assessment grant, Towle said, would allow the consolidation of data to get a good cost estimate to stabilize or rehabilitate the flume.

She said if the commission approves the grant, she would hire a specialist to do the work.

Towle said Ron Anthony of Anthony and Associates out of Fort Collins, who analyzed the wood of the flume, will team with Towle in writing the grant.

Towle said after this occurs she would have to go back to the county commission to ask if it would be willing to fund either the stabilization or rehabilitation. She said that the commission would be faced with a difficult decision.

“They said they do not want to spend taxpayer money to do that,” she said while talking about the $4,600 needed to secure this potential grant.

She said that the relatively small amount of the matching money, she may approach a few small nonprofits who often fund local projects.

Towle said the match amount will mean nothing if the county is not successful in receiving the grant.

“We will know in January if the county is getting this grant,”she said. “I think we have a very good chance. This fund has given money to (various groups) all over the county.”

Towle added she thinks a lot of people will support the grant, but added nothing is completely guaranteed.

“The project is worth it, but it depends on what our competition would be,” she said, mentioning it has always been very competitive.

In 1921 Montezuma Valley Irrigation purchased a few flumes from the state of Washington, and the different types of wood shows the company may have started adding on to the existing flume because it was less expensive to do the work themselves than hire another group to do it.

When the irrigation company was formed in 1920, the system included more than 100 wooden flumes and 150 miles of canals.

Today, of the 104 constructed flumes, only the McElmo Creek Flume remains standing, though its condition has deteriorated over the years.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com