Rebecca Blondo, Black Hawk. The City of Black Hawk is happy to welcome a much needed amenity to town. Situated next door to the Black Hawk Post Office on Clear Creek Street, residents and visitors will now find EAGLESmart Convenience Store, an innovative fundraising branch of the Gilpin County Education Foundation (GCEF).
The mission of the 501(c)3 Foundation is to provide additional resources to better the education of Gilpin County students. GCEF has designed EAGLESmart to provide real-world business experience as part of a new program offered to students of Gilpin County School.
“The Foundation approached the City last fall to discuss the possibility of leasing the open commercial space. It was the perfect concept for the City to further support the school community,” said Mayor David Spellman. “We are enthusiastic about supporting this new program that will allow students an opportunity to have a full hands-on business management experience while promoting an entrepreneurial spirit. Providing the students classroom study in conjunction with on-the-job experience will instill individual responsibility, accountability, and commitment.”
The City has been working for months to transform the space to accommodate the convenience store. Walls were moved, an exterior doorway was added, and now, what was once a space for bank tellers, sweet and salty snacks fill the room. In addition to the investment of $80,000 to retrofit the space for the new store, the City has entered into a generous lease agreement with the Foundation to further support the success of this new educational program.
“This opportunity would not be available if not for the City of Black Hawk’s partnership and help to see this project become a reality. I am extremely proud as President of the Gilpin RE-1 School Board and the Gilpin County Education Foundation to be associated with such a caring and willing partner as Black Hawk,” said Foundation Board President Craig Holmes. “Students from Gilpin County RE-1 High School will soon fulfill the vision to get real, practical educational experience in inventory management, marketing, plan-o-grams, space management, and customer service, to name a few.”
In addition to the City’s support of the new program, the City continues to contribute to the school through the Education Enhancement Tax. In 2008, the registered electors of the City of Black Hawk approved an increase in the sales tax rate from 4.00% to 5.50% for the purpose of providing financial support to the Gilpin County RE-1 School District. The funds collected are intended solely for costs incurred in the classroom for educational purposes, promoting a positive learning environment for Gilpin County students. To date, the City has remitted $5,293,550 in Education Enhancement Tax to Gilpin County School District. For the Gilpin County School District fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the Education Enhancement Tax made up over 13% of all revenues collected.
Another notable aspect of the City’s school community support is the City of Black Hawk Scholarship Program. The Program awards college scholarships to students receiving their high school diploma from the Gilpin County RE-1 School District so that they may continue their higher education. Since the inception of the Program in 1994, Gilpin County graduates have received over $638,000.
These programs perfectly demonstrate the City of Black Hawk’s support for the community. We are proud to be a complementary part in creating the leaders of tomorrow through revolutionary education opportunities. We congratulate the Gilpin County Education Foundation on their new business venture and look forward to seeing vocational education in action each time we step inside the EAGLESmart Convenience Store.