LoVa hoping to connect Glenwood Springs to New Castle | PostIndependent.com

LoVa hoping to connect Glenwood Springs to New Castle

The LoVa Trail, a project years in the making, continues to receive local support. And while it will be years before any construction will take place, it's clearly still on minds of New Castle officials and trail users.

"This is a section with no alternate routes for no-motorized travelers, and the Grand Avenue Bridge project highlights the need for this connection," said Jeanne Golay with Lower Valley Trails.

Named on Gov. John Hickenlooper's "16 in 2016" (a list of highest priority trails where there are currently trail gaps, missing trail segments and unbuilt trails) the LoVa trail looks to establish a paved trail along Interstate 70 from Glenwood Springs to beyond Parachute. While the project remains on the shelves, on Monday the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners agreed to match up to $30,000 for the planning of the design of the LoVa Trail from South Canyon to Canyon Creek through the 2018 Conservation Trust Fund.

While the eventual goal is to see the entire trail built, LoVa Trails is focused on the segment from Glenwood Springs to New Castle. Golay said this stretch is crucial to opening up economic opportunities for both towns.

"New Castle has a large population of commuters to Glenwood," she said. "They work there and their children attend school there, making for even more connections like after-school sports activities and other extracurriculars."

That stretch in particular also has absolutely no other way to travel other than by motorized vehicle, Golay said. New Castle has also been one of the LoVa Trails most supportive partners, and Mayor Art Riddile sat with Golay during Monday's hearing.

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He said the connectivity the project provides is what makes it such an attractive project.

"It would connect New Castle to Glenwood Springs, the Rio Grande Trail, the Glenwood Springs Canyon," he said.

Along with $75,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado, 25 percent or $18,750 has to be matched, and of $45,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 30 percent or $13,250 has to be matched. The county commissioners agreed to match the latter on Monday, and LoVa Trails hopes to secure $10,000 from Roaring Fork Transit Authority, New Castle and Glenwood Springs.

Design and planning on this section of the LoVa Tail alone was estimated to be more than $300,000 a few years ago, so additional grant opportunities will likely need to be sought.

LoVa hopes to finish the design and plan for the trail in order to submit it to GOCO before the next round of grants are awarded, which is expected in 2019.

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