Trails groups look to commissioners for funding
Various groups promoting their own trail projects in the valley are hoping for big handouts from the Garfield County Commissioners. The commissioners are now planning their 2006 county budget.Among the groups asking for money were the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which tapped the commissioners for $50,000. According to RFTA planner Mike Hermes, the money would be used to construct three miles of trail near Carbondale along the former Rio Grande railroad line. The three-mile segment extends from the Catherine Store bridge over the Roaring Fork River to Rock Bottom Ranch.Hermes also pointed out that the commissioners gave RFTA $50,000 last year for trail construction. “We’ll come back to the commissioners in a month as the budget process gets underway,” Hermes said.Also looking for money was Janet Steinbach, Silt community development director. Steinbach said Silt is working with the town of New Castle and the Colorado Department of Transportation to build a trail between Silt and the new Coal Ridge High School, which opened for this school year. “It’s a dangerous situation at Davis Point, and we’re looking for a way to have a regional approach with this trail,” she said. Davis Point is a high bluff overlooking the highway where the road narrows considerably.”The (high) school started with ninth and tenth graders who don’t drive,” Steinbach said of the perceived need for a trail.Steinbach explained the trail would be constructed primarily on CDOT right-of-way along Highway 6&24, which runs in front of the high school.Steinbach said the town already has contributions: $2,000 from New Castle, $5,000 from the Lower Valley Trails Group (LoVa) and $2,000 from the Re-2 school district.”We’re hoping to raise $30,000 by Nov. 1″ to conduct a land survey of the proposed trail route, she said. CDOT has said it would help with construction costs.”I think students are in danger right now,” she added. The commissioners have already promised $50,000 for LoVa’s South Canyon trail segment along Interstate 70 west of Glenwood Springs to the South Canyon exit.Commissioner John Martin cautioned that the commissioners should not make up their minds about funding requests until they’re further on in the budget planning.”It’s unfair to the other folks making requests” to make decisions now, he said. “Not everyone gets what they want because we don’t have the money.”The county has $150,000 to spend on trails funding, said county manager Ed Green.The commissioners did agree to give Silt the $5,000 it requested for a trail to Coal Ridge High School.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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