$500,000 grant goes to Riverfront Trail fund

DENVER — Mesa County received a $500,000 grant Wednesday to help build a portion of the Colorado Riverfront Trail.

The money, from Great Outdoors Colorado, will help pay for the design and construction of a 2.7-mile stretch of the planned river trail that ultimately will extend from Fruita to Grand Junction.

The stretch this grant will pay for will extend from the existing Junior Service League trail head at the Redlands Parkway bridge to just west of the Walter Walker Wildlife Sanctuary. County Parks and Landscape Manager Greg Linza said the $500,000 will cover a little less than half of the cost of the trail section.

It is the first of three sections that ultimately will extend 8.3 miles between the two cities.

The money is to be paired with donations and in-kind matching contributions, some in the form of easements, from the county, the Riverfront Foundation Inc., the Western Colorado Conservation Corp. and United Sand & Gravel.

Tom Fisher, regional services director for Mesa County, said the money will allow the project to go forward sooner than expected.

“It’s really about a $1.4 million project, with the rest coming from Mesa County and the Riverfront Foundation,” he said. “We’ve been budgeting about a half million a year as match to grants for construction of the trails, so this really allows us to advance this project earlier than we would have anticipated.”

The money is part of $24 million in grants from Lottery proceeds awarded by GOCO. It is one of 55 projects in 31 counties designed to preserve open space or provide new parks, recreation areas or trails.

About half of these new grants, which GOCO awards twice a year went to projects scattered around the Western Slope.


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