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Town obtains grant for work on trails project

A scheme to tie in trails from the Pagosa Lakes area all the way to downtown Pagosa Springs, designed and discussed during the past few years, was provided a substantial boost towards breaking ground when the town of Pagosa Springs was notified that it would be receiving $200,000 in State Trails Grant money.

The so-called Town-to-Lakes Trail ecame part of the town’s Comprehensive Plan in 2006 and then the county’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Task Force furthered that discussion in 2007. Since then, the scheme has been a joint project between the town and county.

Numerous presentations have been made to town and county representatives regarding proposals for various routes suggested for the project. During the past several years, the need for securing easements from numerous property owners not only led to several revisions, but held up the pursuit of grant funding.

With some easements agreed to and a plan accommodating areas where property owners refused to provide access, planners were able to apply for grant money following the development of a plan that was more or less a final draft.

On April 30, Town Planner James Dickhoff was notified by the state that the town had been awarded $200,000 for the trail plan. The grant is administered through the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and money is provided through a partnership among Colorado State Parks, Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Lottery, the federal Recreational Trails Program, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

That money will supplement almost a half-million dollars in funds already secured for the project. With a $218,000 transportation enhancement grant awarded by the Colorado Department of Transportation, another $200,000 provided from PROST and $45,000 from the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, close to $700,000 has been accumulated for project.

According to Dickhoff, the estimated cost for the first segment of the trail system is $550,000. Dickhoff added that the remaining funds (from PROST money) would be held to, “leverage matching funds for more grants that will fund additional segments.”

According to a presentation Dickhoff will deliver to the Pagosa Springs Town Council today (at noon in Town Hall), the initial phase, “(W)ill encompass 1,400 lineal feet of 10 foot wide hard surface trail, beginning at Pinon Causeway and Village Drive Intersection, heading south across Hwy 160, then heading east to connect with the Aspen Village Drive and the On-Street Bike Lanes and Sidewalks within the Aspen Village Development.”

That presentation will be part of a resolution asking council to support authorizing terms of the grant agreement. Those terms essentially state that the town agrees to move forward with the project (to eventual completion) and that the grant funds will be used solely for construction on that trail segment.

If council passes that resolution, Dickhoff said that the project would enter a design and engineering phase within the next couple of months that will continue into the fall; construction is slated to start early spring 2013.

jim@pagosasun.com

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