Garfield County match supports bid for Riverview School trail |

Garfield County match supports bid for Riverview School trail

Garfield County has applied for a Colorado Safe Routes to School grant that, if approved, will help create a proposed 1.4-mile trail connecting the Riverview School south of Glenwood Springs to local trail systems.

The trail connection would allow students to walk or bike to school to avoid traveling along busy roads, according to a county news release. The grant request is for $500,000, and the county is providing a cash match of $150,000 from its capital reserve.

In a partnership, Garfield County is the applicant for the grant, and the Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) will manage the grant. Overall, the trail project is estimated to cost roughly $1.35 million. The county has already provided $40,000 toward the planning and engineering phases of the project.

The school district has since pledged an additional $40,000, and the $150,000 the county pledged will serve as a placeholder, only to be used if the project is fully funded, according to the release.

Riverview School is accessed off of County Road 154, just below the Rio Grande Trail. A trail serves the north end of the school site. However, there is no safe, complete connection to reach the school on foot or bike from the south.

“Traveling south from the school, sidewalks are narrow, disconnected, or non-existent, and crossings over busy county roads lack sufficient site grading and controls,” the grant application states. “These conditions require RFSD to discourage students from walking and biking to school, despite the surrounding culture of hiking and biking enthusiasts and close proximity to world-class trail networks.”

The proposed crushed gravel trail connection will connect the Ironbridge subdivision with the Rio Grande Trail, and utilize the existing Hardwick Bridge as a pedestrian crossing over the Roaring Fork River.

The school district has already completed a trail connection between the school and the Rio Grande Trail to the northwest of the proposed trail. The trail design calls for a cantilevered sidewalk and retaining wall, to protect riparian areas near the river.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said during a recent discussion that the Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) may be a source to acquire the remaining $650,000 in funds needed to see the project to fruition. He said the trail will be a benefit to all the families that have kids attending Riverview School, as well as cyclists of all ages.

“This is a good application, and it’s ready to go,” he said. “But there are several moving parts that need to flesh out to get this project completed. This will get us a trail to Ironbridge, Westbank and Westbank Mesa, and allow young children who can’t walk or ride bikes to school to do so.”

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Ironbridge Property Owners Association, and the Ironbridge Club are also partnering with the county and school district on the project.

County commissioners unanimously approved the grant application and matching funds.

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