GarCo group: Stimulus could pay for trail project

A Garfield County trails group is stepping forward with what it says is a project that fits the bill for federal stimulus bill funding.

Larry Dragon, executive director of the Lower Valley Trails Group, has suggested tapping stimulus funds to build a trail connecting the South Canyon area to Glenwood Springs.

“There’s a chance we might be able to get money for this project sooner than later,” he said.

The nonprofit LoVa group is working to build a trail that members eventually hope to see run the length of western Garfield County, paralleling the Colorado River. It would tie in to other trail systems heading east through Glenwood Canyon and southeast to Aspen.

Their initial focus has been a trail through South Canyon, where cyclists now have no alternative to riding on Interstate 70.

Last year LoVa pulled together enough local and state funding to build a small stretch of trail in west Glenwood Springs. It’s now planning to go out to bid this fall on a $900,000 project to build a third-of-a-mile of trail east from the South Canyon bridge toward Glenwood, along with improved parking by the bridge for kayakers and other recreationists.

That would leave just under two miles of trail to be built to connect the two segments. And that’s where the stimulus money could come in. Dragon is hoping the trail project could be prioritized through the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Intermountain Transportation Planning Region for some of the money.

“The TPR is looking to identify shovel-ready transportation projects that will stimulate job development. This is a perfect fit,” Dragon recently wrote to Garfield County commissioners.

Commissioners this morning are scheduled to discuss whether to recommend to the planning region that it list the project as a priority qualifying for possible funding.


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