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CMBRG receives $1,000 community grant from Xcel

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group has received a $1,000 community grant from Xcel Energy for the municipal building restoration project.

CMBRG made a request to Xcel Energy in January asking for help with the cost of the work that needs to be done in the basement to eliminate the moisture problem.

The municipal building basement is damp during the spring and summer months, which causes a musty odor to permeate throughout the building, said Joan Scharlau, president of CMBRG.

The Village of Colfax stopped using the municipal building basement nearly 20 years ago because of moisture problems.

Subsequent village boards took little action to alleviate the moisture beyond allowing the use of one or two residential dehumidifiers in the basement.

In July of 2013, Jackie Ponto, who was village administrator-clerk-treasurer at that time, reported to the public property committee that mold was becoming more of a problem in the Colfax Municipal Building basement and in the Colfax Police Department.

Ponto told the public property committee she would obtain quotes for cleaning up the mold and would put the item on the agenda for the village board.

The Colfax Village Board approved a contract with Air MD Restoration Inc. in August of 2013 for $16,710 to clean the municipal building basement to alleviate mold problems.

As part of the clean-up effort, Air MD removed some of the wallboard in certain areas of the basement.

Air MD Restoration also recommended that the wood floor in the Colfax Municipal Building basement be removed as part of the effort to clean up mold. The building was built in 1915, and the floor was believed to be original to the building.

The Colfax Village Board accepted a bid of $2,500 from Orville Larson in September of 2013 to remove the wood flooring.

The source of the moisture must be eliminated before the municipal building basement can be renovated and used, Scharlau said.

The Xcel Energy Community Grant of $1,000 will certainly help with efforts to stop the moisture from entering the basement, she said.

This is the third grant CMBRG has received from Xcel Energy.

Years ago, the Colfax Municipal Building basement was used for a variety of community events, including blood drives, as a meeting place for local groups and for the senior citizen nutrition program.

The Village of Colfax received a $180,000 energy efficiency community development block grant in 2010 for the municipal building that was part of the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

CMBRG also has spent more than $100,000 on renovating the municipal building auditorium.