Glenwood OKs trail funding | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood OKs trail funding

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A new trail south of Glenwood Springs won funding approval Thursday from the City Council.

The council unanimously approved awarding $598,387 for construction of a segment of the Atkinson Canal Trail.

Aspen Earthmoving LLC submitted the lowest bid. The job is estimated to take about 120 days.

Construction will begin with the southernmost phase of the trail. It would stretch from near the Mountain Market and Threemile Creek along the west side of the Roaring Fork River. This phase of construction would take the trail about 2,100 feet to a point essentially underneath the old Cardiff Bridge.

It will be a “soft surface” of road base and would probably be paved in the future.

The next phase would stretch about another 5,000 feet up to the Sunlight Bridge at 27th Street. The total cost of all phases has been estimated at $4.4 million. Glenwood Springs Community Development Director Andrew McGregor said this segment came in well under an $800,000 estimate by an engineer.

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But he said the city still needs to obtain a few easements from homeowners before finishing the entire length of the trail. The city is negotiating with those property owners and hopes to reach agreements this winter and begin the final phase of the trail in the spring.

The City Council approved a motion in March declaring that if remaining easements can’t be obtained through negotiation within three months after a notice to proceed with construction is issued, the city will use its power of eminent domain to condemn the easements.

McGregor said using eminent domain is a possibility, but it’s better for everyone involved if agreements can be reached before entering a legal contest.

Critics of the trail have said a concrete bike trail would harm wildlife habitat, invade their privacy and increase littering and vagrancy. They said easements behind homes on Hager Lane do not allow for a bike corridor.

But supporters disputed those claims and said the city has no legal authority to deviate from the trail’s location because votes have approved public funding for the trail to build out the city’s river corridor plan. They believe the trail will provide a safe route to the southern part of town.

pfowler@postindependent.com

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