The Gilpin County Slash Site is now open for the season

 
1

Community Center Annex

Community Center Annex

#FFFFFF
#FFFFFF
Proposed Community Center Annex main entry rendering

Updated site designs and floor plans for the Community Center Annex were shared at the March 19, 2024 Board of County Commissioners’ work session. Some of the features of the new plans include:

  • Road designed to accommodate a semi to deliver food to a loading bay
  • Separate entries for each of the three user groups: food pantry, commercial kitchen, and offices. This will allow a user group access to their area only.
  • Outer vestibule to welcome visitors
  • Separate entry and exit for the food pantry to improve the shopping flow

Updated cost estimates are expected in April-May, 2024.

No further discussion by the Board is expected until after that point.

For project updates on the Community Center Annex, also view our Facilities, Current Projects page.

#FFFFFF

Food Pantry History and Board of County Commissioners Discussion Timeline

From 1995-2021, the food pantry was primarily located in a room in the Department of Human Services offices at the Justice Center. The use of this space was not ideal since it is in a secured space.

May 12, 2020

  • Applied for Food Bank of the Rockies Grant to provide funding for a new large refrigerator and the necessary electrical work.  

During the pandemic, the demand for assistance significantly increased, prompting the use of the Community Room at the Justice Center. The Community Room and Justice Center hallways were used to accommodate the extra food needed. 

September 22, 2020

  • Discussion regarding the decision to locate the food bank in the current Public Health trailer on Norton Drive rather than being relocated to the new Health and Human Services building.  
  • Board approved application for CDBG-CV grant for $49,500, later revised to $97K to renovate the trailer to accommodate the food pantry.

February 16, 2021

  • $97k received from Community Development Block Grant COVID (CDBG-CV)
  • Roofing, electrical upgrades, concrete pad, parking lot regrading

August/September 2021

  • Food pantry relocated to the trailer previously used as first a construction office while building the Community Center and then as offices for the Public Health Department.

Prior to transitioning to the modular setup, households were provided with pre-packed food boxes, resulting in limited choices. However, with the transition to a shopping model in the modular setup, households gained the ability to select their own food items, leading to a notable reduction in waste. Additionally, the shift to shopping empowers individuals to maintain their dignity in an environment already fraught with stigma, such as a pantry setting.
 

April 2022

  • Applied for Congressionally Directed Spending for New Food Pantry

Spring 2022

  • Site selection survey to food pantry patrons 
  • Site selection survey to general community

April 6, 2023

  • Facility Condition Assessment for the current food pantry prepared by Bureau Veritas indicated costs to repair and maintain existing trailer were too great and not viable long term.

May 16, 2023

  • Work Session food bank location with key stakeholders and nonprofit partners invited

June 13, 2023

  • Options provided to BoCC by Ryan Keenan:
    • New build near current site.
    • Addition to the Community Center.
    • Purchase of residential property and renovation

December 12, 2023

  • Contract Award for Design, $89,700 to CHSQA

February 20, 2024

  • Work Session on food pantry design

February 27, 2024

  • Res. 24-53, Authorizing Application to Colorado Resilience Initiatives, Access to Healthy Foods (CRI-AHF) to purchase equipment and fixtures.
  • Res. 24-52, Authorizing Submission of a Grant Application to DOLA for the Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) for Food Pantry  

March 12, 2024

  • Res. 24-59, Accepting Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA) Grant
  • Purchase of food pantry vehicle.
#FFFFFF

Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions
How many people use the food pantry?

There are two ways to report food pantry usage: counting households and individuals each time they visit the food pantry to show usage or counting unique households and individuals. The first number is required by the state so they can gather usage information.

The following statistics cover unique households and individuals, whether they accessed services every time the food pantry was open or just once that year.

Unique Households:

  • In 2022: 245 unique households or approximately 8.6% of Gilpin households served
  • In 2023: 271 unique households or approximately 9.5% of Gilpin households served

Unique Individuals

  • In 2022: 484 unique individuals or approximately 8.2% of Gilpin population were served
  • In 2023: 886 unique individuals or approximately 15.0% of Gilpin population were served

The following statistics are the numbers required by the state that show actual usage of the food pantry. It counts each household visit throughout the year or every time an individual was served.

Households Served (each time visited):

  • In 2022: 2,092 households. Average of 8.5 visits per year.
  • In 2023: 3,958 households. Average of 14.6 visits per year.

Individuals Served (each time visited):

  • In 2022: 4,295 Individuals. Average of 8.9 visits per year.
  • In 2023: 8,950 Individuals. Average of 10.1 visits per year.

For the months of January and February, 2024:

  • January: 133 unique households; total usage of 357 households 
  • January: 316 unique individuals; total usage of 780 individuals
  • February: 142 unique households; total usage of 452 households 
  • February: 252 unique individuals; total usage of 857 individuals

From those numbers, in January, each household accessed the food pantry an average of 2.7 times that month. In February, they accessed services an average of 3.2 times that month.

Bar chart showing Unique Households Served from  2019-2023Bar chart showing Unique Individuals Served 2019-2023
How many people who shop at the food pantry live in a different county? 

A small number of people who shop at the food pantry live in another county near the border with Gilpin. In February, there were three households who shopped at the Gilpin food pantry from outside Gilpin.

The pantry is there to support those in need along the Peak-2-Peak Region.

Are there any qualifications to use the food pantry such as income thresholds? 

There are certain categories of food, such as TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), that are income-qualified. Families must be at 200% of poverty level or lower to qualify. A family of four with annual household income of $62,400 or less would qualify. There is only one participating household who currently does not meet that threshold. 

Food insecurity is not the same as poverty. People may not be able to afford housing, car, and utility expenses while also having enough food. It’s not easy to ask for help. The food pantry is a safe place for those suffering from food insecurity. Everyone who uses the pantry is very thankful. While it’s wonderful that so many in our community are willing to help their neighbors, those neighbors may not want to share that they’re food insecure. 

Why do we need a food pantry in our county? 

A local food pantry is an integral part of any community. The process of donating and receiving food from the local pantry not only helps to feed individuals, but it can also help them in other ways such as

  • Allowing people who are struggling with poverty to save money that they would have otherwise spent on groceries or buying prepared meals.
  • Helping local communities become self-sustaining through donations and volunteerism from community members.
  • Encouraging healthy eating habits in low-income families with children that may not have access to fresh food otherwise. Allowing for them to get fruits and vegetables in their local area.
  • Providing basic humanitarian needs for the community.

If there was not a food pantry available in Gilpin County, people in need would need to travel to Clear Creek, Nederland, or Golden to get help. Not only is it further to travel but people who already need help paying for food would need to pay for travel to get to those locations.

Do we really need a new food pantry? Why can’t we repair the current pantry? 

The current food pantry is in terrible shape and cannot reasonably be repaired. There is no foundation; it is currently being held up by jacks. The floor is rotting and the roof is failing. The current panty is not well insulated and leaks frequently. The front deck is falling apart. 

The Gilpin County Food Pantry currently operates out of an approximately 25-year-old work trailer. This work trailer was built in 2000 and purchased in 2003/2004 for temporary offices while the Gilpin County Community Center was being built. Since this is a temporary structure/trailer and not a fixed asset, its value depreciates much like an automobile, instead of appreciating in value like a well-maintained building. The current trailer is valued between $5,000 and $8,000. The temporary structure has been identified to need a minimum of $76,364.00 worth of work in the next 3 years to meet codes and continue safe operations. Over the next 20 years the trailer is expected to need approximately $313,000 worth of work between man hours and materials. These costs to maintain this facility far exceed the value of the asset itself. 

If we do need to replace the current pantry, can we replace it with something similar (i.e. another trailer or prefab structure) instead of a new building to save on costs? 

It is possible to purchase a new double-wide for less than what is being proposed. However, a double-wide or modular is not set up for a food pantry so extensive work would need to be done to it to make it usable. In addition, a double-wide would not last as long as a building.

Settling for the cheapest short-term solution is exactly why we are in the position we are in. The County wants to plan and move forward with long-term costs in mind.

How long has the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) been discussing the need for a new food pantry?

Since the food pantry outgrew its office space in the Justice Center and relocated to a temporary modular building in 2021, finding a permanent solution to house the Gilpin County food pantry has been a focus of County leadership. Prior to moving into the trailer in September 2020, the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved an application for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), initially valued at $49,500 and later revised to $97,000. This funding facilitated upgrades to the future pantry's infrastructure while exploring more permanent options.

In April 2022, Gilpin County staff applied for Congressionally Directed Spending via Congressman Neguse, Senator Hickenlooper, and Senator Bennet, without success. Subsequent site selection efforts in July 2022 explored various options. A survey of current patrons indicated 75% would prefer to keep the pantry near the Community Center. A separate survey of residents, most of whom did not use the pantry, were split on keeping it near the Community Center or moving it near the current Department of Human Services building. 

In April 2023, a Facility Condition Assessment for the current food pantry was prepared by Bureau Veritas and indicated costs to repair and maintain the existing trailer were too great and not viable long term.

During the June 13, 2023 meeting, the Board was presented with three options for a permanent home for the food pantry, and ultimately decided to pursue the construction of a new building. In December 2023, the BoCC approved the 2024 budget including $1.3M allocated to building a new food pantry. 

In February 2024, the BoCC approved applications to the Colorado Resilience Initiatives, Access to Healthy Foods (CRI-AHF) Grant and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) to support the construction of the new building. In March 2024, the County received the Colorado Community Health Alliance Grant, enabling the acquisition of a dedicated vehicle for resource distribution.

Updated site designs and floor plans for the Community Center Annex were shared at the March 19, 2024 Board of County Commissioners’ work session. Some of the features of the new plans include:

  • Road designed to accommodate a semi to deliver food to a loading bay
  • Separate entries for each of the three user groups: food pantry, commercial kitchen, and offices. This will allow a user group access to their area only.
  • Outer vestibule to welcome visitors
  • Separate entry and exit for the food pantry to improve the shopping flow

Updated cost estimates are expected April-May 2024.

How can we share input on this project? 

Every Board of County Commissioner (BoCC) meeting allows for public comments. Each person is limited to 3 minutes to share on a topic of concern. The Commissioners’ email addresses are also listed on the website. There have been a number of meetings and conversations regarding this need over the years. This is not a new project, just one we are finally moving forward on.

How much is this project really going to cost? 

The BoCC budgeted $1.3M for this project this year but we’re hoping for grants to cover some or all of the costs. Now that there are site and floor plans to work from, construction firms will be able to provide a better estimate of total costs. We are applying for a $650K grant to help with construction costs and a $355K grant to help with internal fixtures to offset the overall costs. The final construction costs are unknown but are expected as construction bids are received later this year.

How much do we currently spend on our food pantry? 

The food pantry is primarily run by volunteers. The County pays $23K annually for staff to manage the program and approximately $4500/year for utilities and maintenance. All food is either provided by emergency food assistance program (TEFAP), grants, or donations. The organic turkeys provided at the holidays were all provided from a grant. 

Gilpin County Human Services Department is not the only county department running its own food pantry. Arapahoe, Weld, El Paso, and Pueblo counties plus a few small counties all run their own food pantries.

Requests for nonprofit involvement have mostly gone unanswered. The County is receptive if a nonprofit stepped up to assist but that has not happened yet.

How will the food pantry staff use a vehicle?

The vehicle allows staff to bring fresh produce from Food Bank of the Rockies or other vendors at the farmer’s market each week. It will also allow staff to set up pop-up food pantries in the future for households without reliable transportation.

#FFFFFF

Site Plan Questions
Will the road be torn up in order to run utilities to the new pantry? 

We will be expanding and tying in utilities to the Community Center. The road impacts are expected to be minimal.

Will there be an increase in traffic around the Recreation Center with this new building? 

Traffic should not increase with this new building. The current food pantry is on the same road as the new location so that road should see relatively the same amount of traffic as it does now. The new office and commercial kitchen use is expected to have a minimal increase.

Are there enough parking spots?

Yes.

Why can’t we use the current location of the food pantry for a new building? 

While this new pantry is being built, we will still need the current food pantry to operate for those suffering from food insecurity. A disruption in services for people in need could have dire consequences. In addition, an overall plan for the campus is needed to better prepare for the future.

It appears that a lot of trees will need to be taken down in order to complete this project. Was that taken into consideration for the location? 

The location of the new building was chosen so as to minimize the number of trees that would need to be taken down and to make it easy to connect to utilities. 

Why are you keeping the location near the Community Center and not the Human Services Building?

In a survey of food pantry patrons, 75% preferred to keep the location near the Community Center. In a separate survey of all residents, the majority of whom had never used the pantry, it was fairly evenly split between the two locations. The decision was made to keep it near the Community Center both because it’s near the Community Center and because it was slightly closer to the cities of Black Hawk and Central.

#FFFFFF

Floor Plan Questions
Why do we need office space in this new building?

The building would need at least one office for the food pantry coordinator and community benefits to meet with people confidentially while at the food pantry. There is also a need for more office space generally throughout the County. The office use has not yet been determined.

What’s the purpose of a commercial kitchen and why are we including that? 

A commercial kitchen can be used for classes at the food pantry as well as for human services and the community. This would allow local entrepreneurs to have a place to rent the commercial kitchen and bring income back into the county. For comparison, Nederland’s commercial kitchen is rented out 3 years in advance. This supports local business/economic diversification. 
Local nonprofits and Senior Services could also benefit from the kitchen. Furthermore, it would be very useful during emergency situations.