LoVa invited to apply for $1.3M grant for the South Canyon Trail | PostIndependent.com

LoVa invited to apply for $1.3M grant for the South Canyon Trail

The Lower Valley Trails Group (LoVa) and Garfield County have been invited to submit an application for a River Corridors Initiative Grant from lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for approximately $1,350,000.

In August, GOCO advertised that it would have up to $18 million available for grants in 2012 for projects centered on river corridors. The response from local governments and land trusts was tremendous, with 63 potential projects submitted that requested more than $160 million altogether. The South Canyon Trail Project proposed by Garfield County and LoVa is one of 17 projects that GOCO has invited to submit a full application, with grants slated for award in June 2012.

Because of the massive response GOCO received, the GOCO board will likely make a multi-year commitment to the River Corridors Initiative and award up to $31.9 million in grants in June 2012.

“This will be a very competitive grant round. The initial concept papers indicate that the 17 projects recommended to submit full applications will request as much as $90 million from GOCO,” said GOCO Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug. “Staff will work closely with applicants in the coming months to identify the most urgent aspects of projects and which elements are most appropriate for GOCO funding. However, it is unlikely that all of the applications submitted will receive funding, and several will be asked to combine their efforts with their neighbors where projects overlap.”

In reviewing applications, GOCO will look for projects that either provide direct access to river-based open space and recreational opportunities – including trails in appropriate locations – or those that provide buffers to river-based open space and/or recreational facilities. Additionally, GOCO will consider whether significant progress can be made on the project within three years.

The mission of LoVa, and a vision for Garfield County, is to create a 47-mile trail system along the Colorado River from Glenwood Springs west to Mesa County.

This project, Phase 3 of the South Canyon Trail, will construct a critical 1.8-mile trail segment that will connect two existing trail sections, Phase 1, completed in 2008, and Phase 2, completed in 2011. With completion of Phase 3, the South Canyon Trail will finally connect Glenwood Springs to County Road 134, where the city owns 3,000 acres of land for recreational uses.

In addition to the $1,350,000 requested in the GOCO grant, the other funding for this multi-jurisdictional trail project is from Garfield County for approximately $1,400,000, the city of Glenwood Springs for $600,000, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for $442,000.

If successful with this grant, it is anticipated that bids would be solicited in fall 2012, with construction beginning in the spring of 2013, and completion in late 2013 or early 2014.

Identifying the resources to complete the section of the South Canyon Trail to Canyon Creek will be the next task for the partnership. When completed, this will ultimately link Glenwood Springs via a nonmotorized trail, west to New Castle, Silt, Rifle, and Parachute via the South Canyon Trail, as well as to Glenwood Springs’ comprehensive trail system, east on the Glenwood Canyon Trail, and south on the Rio Grande Trail.

For information or to comment, contact LoVa Executive Director Larry Dragon at ldragon@lovatrails.org or 379-9889.

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