Post Independent Opinion: Council should OK funding for the LoVa Trail section
Glenwood Springs City Council should approve its share of funding to complete the LoVa Trail through South Canyon.
So far, the Lower Valley (LoVa) Trails Group has completed a short segment on each end of the proposed trail.
LoVa is asking the city for $600,000 spread out over the next three years. That’s about 17 percent of the estimated $3.5 million cost to complete the trail.
LoVa has been effective in spreading out the costs between governments and agencies. The group already has $1.9 million in funding commitments, including $1.2 million from Garfield County and $442,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation. LoVa plans to apply for a $1 million Great Outdoors Colorado grant in 2012.
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Glenwood Springs has invested in the existing trail sections, so let’s finish the job. The city would pay about $21 per resident for each of the three years.
This expenditure would likely pay for itself in tourism dollars. The Glenwood Canyon and Rio Grande trails are already big attractions, and Glenwood Springs might qualify as a safe-biking mecca if there were also a route out of town to the west.
The trail would not eliminate the need for bikers to use Interstate 70, as there is no other option between South Canyon and Canyon Creek, but it is certainly a major step in the right direction.
Multi-day bicycle tours have made Glenwood Springs a stop numerous times over the past few years. A trail to the west would make the town even more attractive to tour organizers as the riders could pedal off on a car-free cruise through South Canyon toward Rifle, Grand Junction and the Grand Mesa.
Bicycle outfitters would also have another option for their clients.
And the benefits are certainly not limited to visitors. Local bikers have long lamented the lack of safe passage between Glenwood Springs and New Castle, often opting to drive to Canyon Creek or New Castle and bike from there. This trail would eliminate about half of the portion that now must be ridden on the highway.
And it would also improve bicycle commuting possibilities for those living to the west.
LoVa is offering Glenwood Springs a great deal: pay $600,000 for a $3.5 million trail on your doorstep. The city should take advantage of this opportunity, help complete a project to which it has already committed funds, and finish up a major chunk of interstate-free cycling as an investment in its citizens as well as its tax base.
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