Downvalley trails group hires director |

Downvalley trails group hires director

Lower Valley Trailway (LoVa) has taken two big steps toward building a 47-mile trail along the Colorado River from Glenwood Springs to Parachute.

First, LoVa received its nonprofit standing from the federal government in September, which will allow the countywide organization to expand its fund-raising efforts.

With nonprofit status in hand, LoVa also hired former board president Brian Brown of Silt as its first-ever paid director, on a part-time basis.

“We’re glad to have an executive director to keep track of all the day-to-day work,” said LoVa board member Tod Tibbetts of Silt. “He’ll be able to keep track of projects and keep them moving forward.”

Other LoVa milestones since its founding in 1999 have included a $73,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, which funded a preliminary plan, and a $167,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation to use as seed money for a trail from West Glenwood to South Canyon.

Jeanne Golay, a LoVa South Canyon subcommittee member and former board member, is enthusiastic about the group now being eligible to write more grants for additional funds, and having a paid director to write those grants.

“This is a lifesaver,” said Golay, a former Olympic bicycle racer. “I hope it’s the first step to becoming a full-time nonprofit.”

Brown updated the Garfield County commissioners on LoVa’s activities on Monday, and asked for $20,000 in cash from the 2004 budget, and $2,000 for in-kind support.

Brown told the commissioners there are now lines on LoVa trailway planning maps, and the north side of Interstate 70 looks more promising than the south side. For one thing, more land south of I-70 is already divided up into two-acre parcels, rather than the large parcels found north of the interstate, which can make it more difficult to gain access for trail construction.

Representatives from Rifle, Silt and New Castle supported LoVa’s funding request at Monday’s county commissioner meeting.

Rifle City Council member Alan Lambert called LoVa’s plan, which the group expects to take 40 to 50 years to complete, “futuristic and forward thinking.”

New Castle town administrator Steve Rippy said there’s an “enormous” need for the county and towns to work together with LoVa, and said his town is including the group in its 2004 budget.

Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Houpt told Brown the county currently has earmarked $30,000 in its preliminary budget for LoVa, and will work hard to keep the funding at that level.

After the meeting, Tibbett said LoVa has budgeted $25,000 for the part-time director’s salary. The group anticipates the job will be half-time, but has not decided how the work hours will “meter out.”

Duties will include grant writing, attending regional meetings with local towns and other groups, and taking care of day-to-day issues, Tibbett said.

“We’ll be doing a lot better job of moving LoVa forward,” Tibbett said.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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