New Castle trails network extends | PostIndependent.com

New Castle trails network extends

Mayor Art Riddile, other city officials and those that helped with the project stood by for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at Bear Dance Park.
Alex Zorn / Post Independent |

In the past two weeks New Castle has held a ribbon-cutting for its newest park and playground, opened a new bike park and trail and received a matching grant from the Garfield County commissioners for planning and design of the LoVa Trail to connect the town to Glenwood Springs.

“One of the neat things about this town is that you can take your mountain bike off your car and be on an exceptional trail in seconds,” Mayor Art Riddile said about New Castle. “We’re trying to get more connectivity throughout town, and we have a terrific group of people that want to help build trails.”

Today, biking enthusiasts of all ages headed to the New Castle Trails Fall Conference to see the newest addition to New Castle’s trail network, the VIX Ranch Bike Park, located on Bureau of Land Management lands north of town. The bike park connects with the recently completed Stairway to Heaven Trail.

“We’re really excited about both projects,” New Castle Bike Trails Chairman Adam Cornely said. “Outdoor recreation is very important for our community.”

It’s the second recreation project to be finished in town in less than seven days.

A park with a playground and tennis courts has been featured in New Castle master plans since the late ‘90s but it wasn’t until the ribbon was cut Monday that Bear Dance Park became a reality.

“Here we are,” Mayor Art Riddile said. He explained that the town made several unsuccessful grant submissions to Greater Outdoors Colorado, a state organization that invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to preserve and enhance parks, trails and wildlife. Then, in 2016, New Castle won the grant money while competing with nearly 100 other projects across the state.

“The favorite part of my job is to come out and see the various parks in Colorado we help to build,” GOCO representative Madison Brannigan said. “This was truly a community-driven effort that is going to serve New Castle for years to come.”

GOCO put $347,000 of the total cost of $637,000 to build the park, with the city putting in $150,000 and Warrior Golf contributing $100,000.

John Wenzel, the town’s public works director, said the project would not have been completed so quickly if not for town staff who helped install underground facilities, performed concrete curbing and flat work and assembled playground equipment. The cost of the labor is estimated at $140,000, he said.

The park is located next to the Lakota Canyon Ranch neighborhood and is expected to serve as a much-needed attraction in an area of town that continues to grow.