South Canyon trail project wins more money from city council |

South Canyon trail project wins more money from city council

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Supporters of a South Canyon trail project moved $150,000 closer to their goal Thursday night.Actually, they moved $150,250 closer, if you count the $250 donation made by the Glenwood Springs Garden Club.Also pitching in was Glenwood Springs City Council, which agreed to give an additional $150,000 to the Lower Valley Trails Group (LOVA) for its effort to build a pedestrian and bike trail to South Canyon.The contribution comes as LOVA scrambles to put together enough money to get going on the trail this year despite fast-rising construction costs.”We’ve come a long way and we’re very, very close to finally being able to move forward with a trail in South Canyon. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be as long as we would have liked,” LOVA executive director Larry Dragon told council before it made its decision.LOVA is planning to build a mile of trail toward South Canyon, after having had to downsize the length and width of the trail as construction costs rose. It originally had hoped to build a trail from West Glenwood to South Canyon for about $1.5 million, but by the time it went out to bid the cost had risen to $3.9 million.LOVA now is working to at least get a trail started toward the South Canyon Interstate 70 exit for $2.6 million, with the hope of finding funding later for further construction to that exit and on to Canyon Creek.”You guys have more tenacity than I do. I’d have given up on this sucker,” council member Larry Beckwith told Dragon and other LOVA representatives before joining a council majority in approving LOVA’s funding request.”I hate to waste money but I’m going to do it this time, and I know that we’re going to have a trail that’s going to go to nowhere and it’s probably going to stay that way for a while,” he said.Even the mile trail segment isn’t a sure thing. LOVA is awaiting expected approval of a $153,000 Colorado State Parks grant, and Dragon has to go before the board of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) June 21 to ask it to honor its grant commitment of nearly $1.3 million even though the trail won’t reach South Canyon.”I’m pretty certain that they want to give this to us, they want to do this modified project. They just want to hear from us,” Dragon said.Dragon also has to check whether Kiewit Corp. continues to be willing to build the abbreviated trail for the $2.6 million price tag. Council’s allocation Thursday night ups the value of its total contributions to the project to about $600,000, city officials say. Garfield County also recently donated another $300,000 and has made commitments totaling $733,000, LOVA reports.Glenwood council member Dave Merritt was the only one on council to vote against Thursday’s request. He worried about spending the money on something outside city limits at a time when rising construction costs also may be imperiling the city’s ability to meet infrastructure needs in town.Other council members cited the value of having a trail that eventually could reach thousands of city-owned acres in South Canyon and could enable residents of Canyon Creek to more safely commute to town.Currently, cyclists must ride on I-70 to get to South Canyon from Glenwood Springs. Glenwood resident Bill Lockwood told council that ride becomes dangerous heading west because the shoulder narrows along a curve where truck drivers have a hard time seeing cyclists.When Lockwood rides through South Canyon, he said, “my wife doesn’t like it very much.”Lockwood said there’s broad-based support for the trail, and as proof he presented Dragon with a check from the garden club, of which he is a member.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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