New Castle wins $75,000 GOCO grant for LoVa Trail planning | PostIndependent.com

New Castle wins $75,000 GOCO grant for LoVa Trail planning

Staff report

The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board, meeting Thursday in Denver, awarded a $75,000 grant for the town of New Castle to plan and design a section of the Lower Valley (LoVa) Trail through South Canyon west of Glenwood Springs.

The project was one of 10 awarded funding in a grant cycle with funding. Requests for funding were more than triple what was available.

New Castle aims to fill in a 2.5-mile gap in the LoVa Trail between Glenwood Springs and the town between mile markers 109 and 111 on Interstate 70.

“Before the trail can be built, New Castle must tackle the challenge of designing the most cost-effective route through highly technical topography that also gives users the best experience for bikes and pedestrians,” according to a news release from GOCO.

The planning process will entail surveying and mapping the route, inventorying environmentally sensitive areas and deciding how to best accommodate them, and designing shovel-ready engineering documents that estimate the cost of building the trail, the release stated.

The town plans to finish the planning process by the end of 2018, followed by the start of trail construction next year.

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“New Castle is a burgeoning recreation destination that has opened 14 miles of trails in the last two years, and filling in this gap in the LoVa trail will connect the town to Glenwood Springs and its trail systems,” the release states. “Ultimately, the project will contribute to economic opportunity, quality of life, and access to public lands.”

To date, GOCO has invested $12.3 million in projects in Garfield County and has conserved more than 2,300 acres of land there. In December, GOCO awarded Get Outdoors Garfield County a $1.5 million grant for its work to get kids outside. GOCO funding has also supported the New Castle Community Sports Park and New Castle River Park, among other projects.