LYONS — Gov. John Hickenlooper joined the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board today to announce the approval of $13 million for flood recovery efforts that will help communities restore damaged parks, trails and open spaces, and fund a trail corridor between Lyons and Estes Park. The corridor would be in conjunction with Highway 36 flood reconstruction efforts already underway.
“It’s springtime, and Coloradans and tourists are ready to hit trails and enjoy all that the outdoors in Colorado have to offer,” Hickenlooper said. “Thanks to these GOCO funds that will support volunteer-based flood recovery projects we can build back better, stronger and more sustainable access to our most treasured Colorado locations. The State of Colorado is grateful to the GOCO Board and volunteers for all their hard work. These funds will go towards outdoor projects that are essential in Colorado’s long-term recovery from the floods.”
The flood recovery project approved by the GOCO board include:
- $5 million will go for emergency grants for 14 flood recovery projects that will help communities in Boulder, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Morgan and Weld counties restore damaged or destroyed parks, trails and open spaces. About $500,000 is being held in a contingency fund to assist all grant recipients as needed. Eleven of the 14 GOCO-grant projects will use youth corps or volunteers to help implement the projects. Grantees are leveraging the GOCO funds for an additional $13.5 million in matching and other funds for a total investment of nearly $19 million.
- $8 million for a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to fund the construction of a trail corridor to allow safer travel between Lyons and Estes Park. CDOT will work with stakeholders to explore possible design options and construction scheduling. As more information becomes it will be available at www.coloradodot.info/projects/floodrelatedprojects/us-36-lyons-to-estes
The governor also announced the commitment of over $100,000 in private funds for smaller grants and assistance to help affected local communities restore outdoor recreation facilities, parks and trails:
- The Fund to Restore Colorado’s Trails, Waterways and Parks is announcing today $67,000 in first-round funding to organize and support 20 volunteer-based and youth corps flood recovery projects. Most of the projects focus on restoring damaged trails but also include wildlife restoration work, and are expected to mobilize nearly 900 volunteers. The fund is a donor-advised fund launched by Active Boulder—a group that promotes the success of Boulder County’s outdoor recreation and fitness companies and organizations—and supported by private industry, foundations and individuals.
- The Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, in partnership with Colorado Parks & Wildlife and South Creek Limited, will present today an additional $31,875 to the Town of Lyons. These funds, earmarked for the “Fishing is Fun” grant, will be used as matching funds for a larger $100,000 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for the St. Vrain Restoration project. The foundation has raised and distributed more than a half million dollars to individuals, families & small businesses in Lyons and Longmont who were affected by the September flood.
“The damage is extensive but this will help communities get started on restoring popular parks or trails or start the planning process to figure out how best to rebuild,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO executive director. “In some cases, reopening damaged parks quickly is vital to a community’s economic recovery.”
The largest GOCO grant, $1 million, will help Lyons reopen Meadow Park in time for its popular summer festivals, which help to fund city services including its parks and recreation department.
GOCO staff met with 10 communities hit by last fall’s flooding to develop the Flood Recovery Initiative. The program was designed so that funds could be used in conjunction with FEMA funding and/or to finance work not covered by FEMA. Additionally, given the uncertainty of communities' needs as they rebuild, the program provides recipients with a great deal of flexibility, including a pared down application and the ability to move funding between their top three priority projects.
The grants will:
- Restore or repair at least 11 different trails and nine community parks;
- Re-establish Jamestown's town center, which was obliterated by flooding;
- Replace a damaged structure in Colorado Springs' Harlan Wolfe Park with a new outdoor classroom/pavilion; and
- Rebuild ball fields in Fort Morgan.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has funded more than 3,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. The grants are funded by GOCO’s share of Colorado Lottery revenues, which are divided between GOCO, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Conservation Trust Fund and school construction.
Boulder County Parks and Open Space Outdoor Recreation Flood Recovery Project
Applicant: Boulder County
State officials have deemed Boulder County the most damaged of any county affected by the September flood event; Its open space system alone experienced roughly $53 million in damage. The county will use GOCO funding to reestablish its Pella Crossing Natural Park and two popular regional trail systems: the Boulder Canyon and Longmont to Boulder regional trails.
Fish Creek Trail Restoration
Applicant: Estes Valley Park and Rec District
FEMA assessed Estes Park's Fish Creek Trail — recently completed with GOCO funding — as a 100 percent loss. This 2.4-mile trail connected Estes Park with trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Estes Valley Park and Rec District will use GOCO funding to restore suitable sections of the trail, realign other segments for a more sustainable trail system, and repair and rebuild its Homer Rouse Trail.
Longmont Flood Recovery
Applicant: City of Longmont
With damages assessed at $19.7 million, the City of Longmont was heavily impacted by the September flooding. Three greenway trails, four neighborhood parks and five district parks were considerably damaged. GOCO funds will help restore 3.5 miles of trail along the St. Vrain Greenway and allow for trail infrastructure repairs along Lefthand Creek that are not covered by FEMA or insurance.
Coal Creek Trail Flood Reconstruction
Applicant: City of Louisville
The City of Louisville saw Coal Creek swell to its 500-year flow rate, decimating its banks and causing an estimated $8 million in damage. The city will use its GOCO grant to redesign, engineer and reconstruct the Coal Creek Regional Trail, which serves as a major recreation and transportation artery throughout Boulder County.
Jamestown Town Square
Applicant: Town of Jamestown
Roughly 16 inches of rain fell in Jamestown over 48 hours, destroying much of its infrastructure, 30 percent of residential housing and its town square, which was filled with debris and rock. The town will use GOCO funding to reestablish the town center with tables, creek side seating, fencing and vegetation. The town will also perform erosion control measures at Elysian Park, a project GOCO funded previously.
Meadow Park Flood Recovery Project
Applicant: Town of Lyons
Flood damage estimates in Lyons exceed $50 million, and nearly all of the town's recreational amenities were wiped out. The town will use GOCO funds to restore Meadow Park — its most popular attraction and a major economic driver — to a useable state in time for Lyons' many summer activities and festivals.
EL PASO COUNTY
Harlan Wolfe Park Flood Restoration and Park Improvement Project
Applicant: City of Colorado Springs
Between 20 and 30 percent of Colorado Springs' parks sustained flood damage. The city will use its GOCO grant to clear debris in Harlan Wolfe Park, and replace a century-old structure within the park that was damaged beyond repair with a new outdoor classroom/pavilion.
Ute Pass Regional Trail, Bear Creek Regional Park, and Fountain Creek Regional Trail
Applicant: El Paso County
El Paso County will use GOCO funding to repair 5.7 miles of trail, three roads, a pedestrian bridge and 3.7 acres of land in Bear Creek Regional Park, all damaged when Bear and Fountain creeks rose to historic levels.
Bear Creek Bank and Channel Stabilization
Applicant: City of Lakewood
The City of Lakewood will use GOCO funding to stabilize the Bear Creek banks and channel running through Bear Creek Lake Park. The work is crucial for future creek-side trail restoration.
Jefferson County Open Space Flood Recovery
Applicant: Jefferson County
Fifty percent of Jefferson County's open space parks received flood damage, including four of its most popular parks: Apex, Lair o' the Bear, North Table Mountain and White Ranch. The county will use GOCO funds to repair 7 miles of natural surface trail across these parks.
Big Thompson River Flood Recovery Project
Applicant: City of Loveland
When the Big Thompson River overflowed its banks, it caused $7.6 million in damage to three of Loveland's community parks and much of the trail system along the river's banks. The city will use GOCO funding to restore the heavily-used River's Edge Natural Area and Recreational Trail.
Larimer County Flood Recovery Project
Applicant: Larimer County
With the bulk of its flood damage occurring in Big Thompson Canyon, Larimer County will use GOCO funds to complete an assessment of the canyon's post-flood conditions to better guide future development and conservation plans. Additionally, the county will complete road and trail repairs throughout Hermit Park Open Space, a project GOCO funded previously.
Riverside Park Flood Restoration — Softball/Baseball Field Rebuild
Applicant: City of Fort Morgan
The City of Fort Morgan will use GOCO funds to rebuild the ball fields in Riverside Park, which were decimated when the South Platte River breached its banks. The fields are the city's only lighted ball fields and its most popular.
Riverside Park Trail Restoration Project
Applicant: City of Evans
The City of Evans received more than $25 million in flood damage and Riverside Park was completely submerged, leaving 30 inches of silt and debris. The city will use GOCO funds to repair or reconstruct several trail segments in the park, and hire a consulting firm to help develop a plan for the park's restoration.