Rifle gears up for further phases of Grand Hogback bike trail project
Additional funding, matching grant application approved
An ongoing expansion project slated to eventually establish 18 miles of singletrack bike trails at Rifle Arch was approved for additional funding.
Rifle City Council voted unanimously to allocate $20,000 to the Grand Hogback Bike Trail, a phased project that first broke ground in summer 2020. In addition, city council approved going after a matching $80,000 grant through Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“The trails have received great reviews,” City Planning Director Patrick Waller said. “The city of Rifle has been very supportive of the project in the past.”
If the $80,000 grant is awarded, the city will match over an expended two-year period. The grant will be submitted by the end of September, but a decision will likely not be made until next March or April, Waller said.
The city had previously applied for a $110,000 matching grant in 2020, which wasn’t awarded.
The city of Rifle, Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp., Rifle Area Mountain Bike Organization and Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association originally started planning the Grand Hogback Trail System a few years ago.
Since then, 7.1 miles of track and a new drive-in parking lot off Colorado Highway 13 have been constructed and open to the public.
The overall cost of the project is expected to be $290,000. The city anticipates another $50,000 and in-kind trail construction to be covered by local partners. Gumption Trail Works is the company hired to build the trails.
Meanwhile, the additional $20,000 will go toward building 1.7 more miles of trail this fall. City Manager Tommy Klein suggested the money come from the city’s Conservation Trust Fund, a fund that typically receives about $90,000 per year from revenue generated from the state lottery.
According to the city, $71,627 has so far been spent on the project. Most of the funds, however — $68,661 — have been allocated by entities outside of the city, Waller said.
“No general fund money has been spent on trails,” City Attorney Jim Neu said.
Neu also noted that an additional $25,000 will be awarded from a private foundation upon approval of the $20,000 allocation made by the city.
“So your $20,000 actually becomes $45,000 to build that trail,” he said.
RAMBO board member Erik Villasenor expressed his gratitude toward city council and city staff for devoting so much time toward the project thus far.
“Because without that support, that project just doesn’t go,” he said. “We’re left to kind of doing more volunteer building than we would like, and with your support, we’re able to bring in a professional and do the trails right the first time.”
“Over one year ago, we did not have a parking lot and we had no new trails,” he added. “So now we have a 40-car parking lot — that’s an awesome amenity with a trailhead sign and park tool station.”
Gumption Trail Works Owner Aaron Mattix said the additional 1.7 miles slated for construction this fall will expand the experience for riders.
“It’s got more larger machine built features,” he explained. “We have a few little segments of that right now, but we don’t have a continuous trail of that.”
City council member Brian Condie took a trip out to Grand Hogback recently and said he liked what he’s seen so far.
“I’ve been very impressed with how many people use that,” he said. “I think it’s a great project for the city to do.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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