DENVER – The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $633,250 in planning grants to 10 projects across the state on Thursday. The projects were chosen from a pool of 23 projects in a grant round with requested funds doubling what was available.
Projects will help communities solicit public input to figure out how to build and improve parks and trails and create better pedestrian and bike access, all while balancing the need to protect wildlife habitat and natural areas. Half of the projects were awarded to rural communities, several of which are diversifying their local economies by increasing their outdoor recreation amenities.
GOCO’s planning grants help local governments gather public input, evaluate conditions, and develop strategic plans to meet the outdoor recreation needs of Colorado communities.
Funded projects are as follows:
Arvada Clear Creek Corridor Master Plan, $75,000 grant to the City of Arvada
The City of Arvada’s grant will help the city create a plan for recreation along Clear Creek that prioritizes future park acquisitions and improvements while protecting wildlife habitat. The city will focus on improving Gold Strike Park based on feedback from the public and hopes to increase connectivity from the Ralston Creek State Recreational Trail and Olde Town Arvada.
City of Brush Parks & Recreation Master Plan, $60,000 grant to the City of Brush
GOCO funding will help the city create a roadmap for the future of parks and recreation in Brush, one of city council’s top priorities for 2018. The master planning process will address funding needs and obstacles while gaining community insight into the most needed programs and facilities for adults, youth, and seniors in the community.
City of Louisville South Boulder Road Ped. & Bicycle Connectivity Feasibility Study and Plan, $75,000 grant to the City of Louisville
The City of Louisville’s GOCO grant will invest in a planning project to establish an access plan for pedestrians and bikes at key north-south connection points across South Boulder Road between Highway 42 and Via Appia in Louisville. The city’s current walk score is 37 out of 100, meaning most errands require a car and the community is largely car-dependent.
Jeffco Trails Plan, $75,000 grant to Jefferson County
Jefferson County will put GOCO funding to work creating a countywide trails plan for paved and soft-surface trails. The Jeffco Trails Plan will focus on trails outside of existing county parks and explore how trails can become better connected throughout the county. The ultimate goal is to have every resident within a 10-minute walk of a park, trail, or open space.
LOVA South Canyon Trail- Part 2, $75,000 grant to the Town of New Castle
New Castle aims to fill in a 2.5-mile gap in the LoVa Trail between Glenwood Springs and the town between mile markers 109 and 111 on I-70. Before the trail can be built, New Castle must tackle the challenge of designing the most cost-effective route through highly technical topography that also gives users the best experience for bikes and pedestrians.
Plains Conservation Center Strategic Master Plan, $75,000 grant to the City of Aurora
The City of Aurora recently took on full management of the Plains Conservation Center, and wants to build a strategic master plan to create a roadmap for the center’s future. Prairie grasslands make up 40 percent of Colorado, and the Plains Conservation Center provides a venue for celebrating the land and its multi-cultural heritage. The city has plans to expand environmental education, wildlife watching, school trips, and hiking while balancing human impact with conserving the natural grasslands of the 1,100-acre facility.
Prospect Recreation & Park District Master Plan Update, $50,000 grant to Prospect Recreation and Park District
Prospect Recreation and Park District assess current inventory, evaluate next steps for Applewood Golf Course, and develop a conceptual plan for Prospect Arena. Options will be presented at public meetings beginning in fall 2018, with plans to complete the new master plan by the end of 2019.
Shady Island River Park Planning, $30,000 grant to Gunnison County
Gunnison County aims to complete a plan for improvements to Shady Island River Park, a 12-acre property on the north side of Gunnison. A public planning process will help determine the future design and use of the area and create professional design and engineering documents. The plan will also take into account how to improve wildlife habitat along and in the river.
Town of Naturita Parks & Recreation Master Plan, $56,250 grant to the Town of Naturita
GOCO funding will help the Town of Naturita create its first-ever parks and recreation master plan, an important step forward in diversifying its local economy to include outdoor recreation. The plan will help determine how Naturita will develop four park properties along the San Miguel River. Each property has the potential to create access for beginner water sport enthusiasts, and could also be home to a river trail to get walkers, runners, and bikers off of Highway 141 and Highway 97.
Virginia Canyon Open Space (VCOS) Master Plan, $62,000 grant to the City of Idaho Springs
Virginia Canyon contains 400 acres of mostly undeveloped land, and social trails have been used by the mountain bike community for the last decade. Social trails are informal trails created by the public, and often are not up to safety or sustainability standards. The master planning process will design one of the first network of multi-use trails in Idaho Springs, helping to further cement the city’s status as a destination community.