City, county to discuss shortfall in trail funds
Trails and traffic will be on the agenda this morning when Glenwood Springs and Garfield County elected officials get together in a rare joint meeting.City Council members and county commissioners are scheduled to gather at 11 a.m. at City Hall to talk about how to close a funding gap for a down-valley trail project and what to do about problem traffic intersections in south Glenwood Springs.The Lower Valley Trails Group, or LoVa, is trying to determine how to make up for a shortfall being created by fast-rising construction costs for a proposed 2.3-mile trail in South Canyon west of Glenwood.In 2004, the project was estimated to cost $1.8 million. That estimate now sits at $2.5 million to $2.6 million, LoVa executive director Larry Dragon wrote Friday in a funding summary.Financial commitments so far include $1.25 million from Great Outdoors Colorado, $268,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation, and $150,000 each from the city and county, in addition to in-kind contributions by the county and a bridge at Mitchell Creek funded by the city.Last year, realizing costs were rising, LoVa applied for $200,000 from Colorado State Parks and received $182,000. But it still needs more.”All of which leads us to this meeting with our local partners, Garfield County and the city of Glenwood Springs, to try to find creative ways to find the funds needed to construct this important trail project,” Dragon wrote.LoVa has two proposals for obtaining additional county funds. One would be to tap $50,000 the county had earmarked as a match for the Crystal River trail project’s state trails grant but isn’t being used for that purpose. Another would be for the county to contribute $243,000 from other funds for design, engineering and construction fees.This morning’s traffic discussion also will be money-oriented. The 27th Street intersections at Midland Avenue and South Grand Avenue are both congested and expected to get worse as traffic increases. City engineer Mike McDill is recommending that a financial strategy be developed for building a signal at 27th and South Grand, and a roundabout at Midland and 27th.Roundabouts are more expensive than signals but are seen as better long-term solutions as traffic growth continues. However, a roundabout isn’t considered feasible at the South Grand intersection because it is so close to the 27th Street bridge.Midland serves not only city residents but commuters from elsewhere in Garfield County who are passing through Glenwood, and also residents up Four-Mile Road and patrons of Sunlight Mountain Resort.
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