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Strength in numbers: Metro North agencies help abused children


Any time several individuals come together in a common cause, it lightens the burden on any one member of the team. As they say, there is strength in numbers.

Certainly, that is the case in the planned new Ralston House facility in Northglenn.

Seven municipalities and two counties have seen the merit in combining their resources with the Ralston House non-profit organization to provide a new facility. In case you are not aware, Ralston House is a child advocacy center that provides professional and comprehensive services for sexually, physically and emotionally abused children and their families. Their services and expertise spreads over the participating local governmental entities - Adams County, City and County of Broomfield, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster.

Law enforcement agencies from all of the above governmental entities have a close working relationship with Ralston House.

Enhancing important service to the area

In order for Ralston House to provide comprehensive services to its geographical area - right now and in the future - the non-profit determined that a new facility in Northglenn was needed. Services have been provided by Ralston House's Jefferson County facility and recently through a facility located on property in Northglenn. The new larger facility will be located on the same approximate site on the south side of 112thAvenue. The listed local governments and Ralston House have come together under intergovernmental agreements to first do the design and engineering work and then, in a separate second agreement, to commit to sharing the cost of construction and pursuing potential grants, including a specific grant from the State of Colorado Division of Local Affairs.

Many hands make light work

The total cost, which includes design, construction and construction management, is estimated to reach $1.7 million. Previously, the participating entities had contributed $270,000 under their first agreements for architectural design. The second agreement sets forth contributions totaling $1,072, 500.

The largest contributing portion is to come from Adams County in the amount of $319,970 while the smallest contribution is to come from the City of Federal Heights in the amount of $18,942. The remaining balance of $357,500 represents the "gap" or shortfall in funding to make the project complete.

This is where the earlier mentioned State of Colorado local affairs grant will hopefully close the gap. If this grant or other grants do not materialize, the entities have established a process to "reconvene "and resolve the funding gap. Each board of county commissioners or city council has formally approved the second agreement and put their "stamp of approval" on the cooperative endeavor, according to their schedule.

Stellar example of cooperation

All participating entities in the agreements have every right to be proud as they show their financial support to Ralston House in this significant project. Their collective approach is making the planned facility a reality, which saves Ralston House the financial burden of capital financing.

While cities from time to time find themselves in competition with each other over such things as economic development prospects, and cities occasionally get crossways with the county or counties they are located in over such issues as tax-increment financing, there are a lot more examples that demonstrate a spirit of cooperation where there is common ground. Citizens expect their governmental organizations to work together, save tax dollars and share. The Ralston House financial support agreement is a stellar example of such intergovernmental cooperation, which in turn better serves the communities.

The African Maasai tribe has a tradition in which their warriors greet each other saying "Kasserian Ingera?" They are asking "How are the children?" Thanks to the important work which Ralston House does each and every day, our warriors can readily reply: "The children are doing well!"

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media. 

Bill Christopher


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