Fruita applies for grants for recreational path extension |

Fruita applies for grants for recreational path extension

Brittany Markert
Fruita is applying for grants to build a recreational path from Fruita to Loma. The path will meader alongside Interstate 70 and connect to the Loma boat launch.
Brittany Markert / | Free Press

It’s all about connection when talking about building recreational paths in Fruita.

Since 2008, the City of Fruita and its Parks and Recreational Department have been working on a community plan to do just that.

“We are excited about it,” said Mike Bennett, Fruita’s city manager. “It was a big deal to have the Riverfront Trail from Fruita to Grand Junction, and with that momentum with that section we felt it was perfect to take the lead on this new section and extend it to Loma.”

The new section of trail will stretch four-and-a-half miles from the west side of Interstate 70 and meander next to the interstate until it finally reaches the Loma boat launch. The trail will be an access point for mountain bikers to ride from Fruita hotels, RV parks and the state park campgrounds out to the Kokopelli Trails.

According to a study by Bureau of Land Management, more than 50,000 mountain bikers traveled to the Kokopelli trails between August 2013 and August 2014.

“We hope to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic to the trailhead and help that connection,” said Ture Nycum, director of Fruita’s Park and Recreation Department.

He added that if Fruita wants to keep its national rank as a top destination for the sport, the town needs to incorporate those connections.

“The more we can provide connections, we feel, it is a benefit for the community,” Bennett confirmed. “And it enhances the quality of life here.”

To help create connectivity between the town and the Riverfront Trail, the city will build a path from the Recreation Center (124 N. Coulson, Fruita) to James M. Robb Colorado River State Park. Construction is set to begin in the fall.

It is fully funded from a Colorado Department of Transportation enhancement grant and a Great Outdoors Colorado State Trails grant, plus money from the City of Fruita, totaling almost $1 million. The Little Salt Wash trail will total less than a mile.

“We are trying to get the spine of network trails in place to make sure it gets out to the neighborhoods and connect them,” Nycum said.

Currently, the city just submitted several grants to receive funding for the $2.4 million project — the Kokopelli Section of the Riverfront Trail, he added.

According to Nycum and Bennett, only $90,000 will come from an allocated budget from the city and $160,000 was provided by the Riverfront Trail Foundation; the rest will be from grants.

The city recently applied for a $1 million grant from GOCO. Officials expect a response regarding the grant in June, and additional grants will be pursued in August. Construction is not scheduled until summer or fall of 2016.

“People may see a price tag, but this is money from grants we will be using that are out there for this specific reason of trail development,” Bennett explained.

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