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August 20, 2012
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South Canyon trail connection on hold for now

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A 1.8-mile connection between two completed sections of the South Canyon trail may have to be done piecemeal, after a major state grant application was rejected.

The Lower Valley (LOVA) trail group had applied for a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) River Corridor Initiative grant earlier this year.

The $1.5 million GOCO grant proposal sought to match another $2.9 million in local funding commitments from Garfield County ($1.8 million), the city of Glenwood Springs ($600,000) and the town of New Castle ($3,000).

A federal Transportation Enhancement Grant for $442,000 was also obtained for the project.

But the GOCO request was denied, and LOVA spokesman Larry Dragon said at a Glenwood Springs City Council meeting last Thursday that he's not optimistic a renewed effort would be successful, either.

Instead, the estimated $4.4 million "phase 3" of the project may need to be further split into smaller phases, Dragon said.

Two sections of trail have been completed in recent years, one running west from West Glenwood and another running east from South Canyon.

In between is a 1.8-mile segment that presents some engineering challenges because of the steep drop-off between Interstate 70 and the Colorado River.

Dragon said it's possible that the engineer's estimate of $4.4 million to build that segment could come in lower when it goes to bid. But, for now, that's the number they're working with.

City Council voted 7-0 to keep its $600,000 commitment in the funding picture. That amount was to be paid in $200,000 increments over the next three years.

The city will also lend its support to LOVA's effort to obtain a $200,000 grant from the state trails fund.

In other business at the Aug. 16 meeting, City Council:

• Chose as its next Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) grant application a request for funding to build locker rooms for hockey teams to use at the Glenwood Community Center ice rink. The other project contemplated for a grant proposal involved improvements to add 12 spaces to the public parking lot next to the fire station on Cooper Avenue. The new Garfield FMLD has two funding cycles each year, one in the spring and one in the fall.

• Directed city planning and legal staff to draft an ordinance that would allow use of residential units in Glenwood Springs for short-term (one month or less) vacation rentals. The city's planning and zoning commission has already reviewed the proposal and provided a set of recommended regulations for such rentals. Council will formally consider the ordinance at a future meeting.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 20, 2012 01:27AM Published Aug 20, 2012 01:26AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.