LoVa Trail receives love from Glenwood council | AspenTimes.com

LoVa Trail receives love from Glenwood council

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

In a 6-1 vote, the Glenwood Springs City Council agreed to contribute an additional $60,000 toward the LoVa (Lower Valley) Trail on Thursday night.

The long sought after LoVa Trail seeks to provide an 8.5-mile pathway for pedestrians and cyclists between Glenwood Springs and New Castle.

“This is sort of an emergent ask for funding,” Jeanne Golay, LoVa executive director, said at Thursday’s council meeting. “So that we can preserve the grant that we were awarded.”

In October 2019, the LoVa Trail project was awarded a $700,000 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District (FMLD) joint grant.

However, the price tag for the 690 feet of LoVa Trail, which project officials hope to put out to bid in spring 2020 carries with it an approximately $1.2 million price tag.

The 690-foot portion of the LoVa trail would begin near the West Glenwood wastewater treatment facility and extend west to a not yet constructed picnic shelter near the Colorado River.

The project’s partners needed to quickly come up with the additional $300,000 to avoid not being able to accept the FMLD grant.

“I went to the FMLD board and I asked them for more time to try to solve this problem,” Golay said. “So that we could promise and commit to the grant that they awarded.”

Subsequently, the FMLD gave the LoVa Trail’s project partners until Dec. 31 to come up with the additional funds.

On Monday, the Garfield Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a $150,000 challenge grant for the LoVa Trail.

Additionally, New Castle’s Town Council agreed to put forth an extra $15,000 and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority an additional $75,000 help to bridge the gap.

“You have to bite these big projects off in smaller chunks to get them done,” Dan Blankenship, RFTA CEO, said. “It’s seldom that you are going to get a grant that funds the whole thing.”

Ultimately, Mayor Jonathan Godes and Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup joined councilmembers Steve Davis, Rick Voorhees, Paula Stepp and Charlie Willman in supporting the additional $60,000 funding request.

Councilman Tony Hershey did not support the ask.

“I think that transit corridor is so important for the safety of everybody that doesn’t wish to drive a car all the time,” Councilman Davis said.

According to New Castle Mayor Art Riddile, discussions about extending the LoVa Trail to Coal Ridge High School and to the town of Silt also were in the works.

“The goal is to eventually get to Mesa County and join up with their trail system there,” Riddile said. “So, we can go, eventually, all the way to the state of Utah.”