Large April 17 auction will benefit Black Forest recovery and restoration

Black Forest Together has received a generous donation of new items, which will be auctioned to raise funds to support fire recovery and forest restoration work.

A wide variety of new household and office goods will be included in the regular weekly auction at Ross Auction, at 815 S. Sierra Madre (downtown). The Friday, April 17 auction begins at noon; items can be inspected beginning at 8:30 am. To learn what items will benefit Black Forest Together, simply ask the Ross Auction staff.

This auction will take place on Friday only. (This is a change from our original announcement.)

The items to be auctioned were recovered by the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) during an investigation and subsequent prosecution of a large retail theft ring. The items were stolen from retail stores and are in new condition.

Safeway, through the efforts of Nathan Bandaries, Senior Investigator for Safeway’s Organized Retail Crime Division, supplied and paid for a semitrailer to store the items as well as a commercial driver to move the trailer from location to location. An exhaustive inventory of the items was completed by CSPD Evidence Technician Shirley Milligan.

When it was clear that the remaining items could not be returned to the retail centers, officials of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in cooperation with the defense attorneys, thought of a solution that would benefit the community. They donated the entire lot to Black Forest Together, Inc., to raise funds to support the Black Forest community’s ongoing recovery from the wildfire of 2013.

New help is available for fire-affected businesses

New grant funding is available to help businesses and non-profits that were impacted by the Black Forest Fire, or by the floods of September 2013.

The Recover Colorado Business Grant and Loan program has received a second round of funding to meet needs that have not been addressed through other sources of public and private assistance (such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration).

Applications for this program are now available. The application deadline is July 31, 2015.

If business owners were not able to qualify for earlier help from this program, they may qualify now. Two important changes and process improvements have been made for the second round of Recover Colorado Grants and Loans:

  • The minimum annual revenue eligibility requirement has been lowered to $15,000 per year for all businesses. This lower requirement will be retroactively applied to all applicants, including existing applicants from the first round.
  • The requirement that businesses have applied for other forms of assistance before applying for CDBG-DR funds has been eliminated. The elimination of this requirement will be retroactively applied to all applicants, including existing applicants still being processed from the first round.

The Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is providing free services to help business owners take advantage of this opportunity. SBDC staff will work one-on-one with business owners to confirm if they are eligible, and assist with the application process and follow-up documentation.

There are two ways for interested business owners to get more information about this program:

Plan to attend the Slash/Mulch Program annual meeting: Saturday, April 25

No matter how long you’ve lived in Black Forest, plan to attend the annual meeting of the Black Forest Slash/Mulch Program. This fun, FREE, educational event will be held 9:00-11:00
am Saturday, April 25 at the Black Forest Community Hall, on the northwest corner of Black Forest and Shoup Roads. You’ll get good information to help you manage your land and reduce your wildfire risk. You’ll also have a chance to win some great door prizes – even a chainsaw!

For 20 years, the Slash/Mulch Program has promoted fire mitigation and responsible forest management by providing a safe and inexpensive way to dispose of tree slash (branches and saplings). For only $2 per load, you can bring slash to the program’s site on Herring Road, between Burgess and Shoup Roads. The slash is ground into mulch, which is free if you load it by hand. (For $5, you can have a front-loader quickly fill your truck or trailer).

The slash/mulch site will open for the 2015 season at 7:00 am Saturday, May 2. Click here to get the site schedule, and the details about what you may bring to the slash/mulch site.

This highly successful and collaborative program is co-sponsored by the Black Forest Slash-Mulch Committee (SAMCOM), El Paso County Environmental Division, Colorado Forestry Association and Black Forest Fire/Rescue, in cooperation with the Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners.

Black Forest Discount Cards Still Available

The BFT Discount Card is a win-win way to help Black Forest families and local businesses recover together. Our families get a price break on the things they need to rebuild their homes and restore their land. And businesses – especially our local Black Forest businesses – get a valuable opportunity to showcase their products or services. Click here to see the current list of participating businesses.