LARIMER YOUTH are looking to work on homes in the neighborhood, but a lack of a URA contract is halting much of the progress. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

When Black contractors Emmett Miles and Ron Garland were informed they would be rehabbing six homes as part of the Larimer redevelopment project, they decided it would be a great opportunity to take kids from the city’s Learn and Earn summer jobs program and teach them the basics of construction work.

But in the past month, the number of houses they were originally scheduled to do interior demolition on was reduced from six to two, while the number of youth they were set to train doubled from six to 12.

No problem. With the donation of pry bars, hammers and other hardware from Penn Wholesale Kitchens and the equipment Miles and Garland purchased—goggles, boots, safety vests—they could still give the kids the training they’d planned.

But that isn’t happening because, according to Garland, the Urban Redevelopment Authority hasn’t finalized the contract, which means there is no insurance. And the city is still paying the kids $7.50 an hour, without their doing any actual work.

“So, we’ve had these kids for two weeks and we’ve given them general safety training and shown them basic carpentry skills,” said Garland, field supervisor for AOne Contracting. “They can watch what we do, but that’s it.”

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