County OKs funds for new Clifton Nature Park

The average price for a mile of riverfront trail is $420,000, and that is not including construction cost, said Greg Linza, parks and grounds manager for Mesa County.

At that price, one might say, Mesa County is getting a discount on a 2.6-mile length of trail at a price of $1.2 million. The Mesa County Commission authorized the expenditure Monday. The money will go toward extending the Riverfront Trail from James M. Robb-Colorado River State Park, southwest of D and 32 roads, under the 32 Road bridge, through Clifton Sanitation District property, around a lake, and another 2 miles to the east through 100 acres of property owned by ranchers Ron and Kathleen Arnett.

“It gives people recreation,” Ron Arnett said. “People are getting so crammed up on each other they will get cabin fever.”

The result will be a new nature park.

Eventually the corner of D Road and 32 1/2 Road will be rebuilt and a bus stop will be placed about a quarter mile to the east. The stop will serve triple duty as a bus stop, parking area for 20 cars and entrance to the nature park.

First the properties that will hold this newest section of Riverfront Trail will need to be developed with 10-foot-wide, concrete sidewalks, flanked by 4-foot-wide soft shoulders and fencing.

There already is a half-mile section of paved trail there and more is on the way, to be built by Colorado West Contracting Inc. But the county still has to get permission from the Colorado Department of Transportation to cross under 32 Road.

Linza said the county’s plan currently calls for a $110,000 “soil-nail wall,” which would not touch the bridge, but attach to the soil.

The work on the trail will be done in phases. Linza said he anticipates workers will begin clearing tamarisk and other non-native vegetation from Clifton Sanitation property at the end of 32 1/2 Road where it intersects with D Road by next week.

Concrete will not be poured until the spring, he said.

Extending north of the corner, up 32 1/2 Road from D Road, the county will be building a community connection to the trail. Using a $988,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado a sidewalk will be extended up from the trail to Rocky Mountain Elementary, at D 1/2 and 32 roads, and beyond.

“We are connecting these park settings with schools,” Linza said.

But Linza said he is taking away one of the schoolchildren’s summer activities. A rope swing, hanging from an old cotton tree, that used to allow youth to free fall into the Colorado River will “probably” be removed, he said. The tree, he added, will remain.


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