GOCO Helps Support Riverfront Trail Funding
Twenty-five years ago, Mesa County and Riverfront Commission representatives started work on the Riverfront Trail. Over the years, the City of Fruita, the City of Grand Junction, the City of Palisade, and Colorado State Parks have joined the two partners in making the dream of a Riverfront Trail system a reality.
This group has a vision to connect the Riverfront Trail from the border of Garfield County to the Kokopelli Trailhead. With 17 miles of trail over 300 acres of land, the trail continues to grow.
The main focus of the partners, at the moment, is to connect the portions of Riverfront Trail from Grand Junction to Fruita. The job has been divided into three phases.
Phase one, a $1.4 million project, is nearing completion and stretches from 22 Road to 24 Road. The second phase, from 17 Road to 18 ½ Road, has been fully funded 1.1 million dollars. Construction for phase two will begin in July of this year.
The third phase of this project will stretch from 18 ½ Road to 22 Road. This portion of the trail is going to cost $6 million to complete. Phase three includes a seawall to protect both the trail and Interstate 70 from any possible flood damage in the future. This precaution is needed, but increases the price of the phase.
“We are paying particular attention to make sure that we are making a trail that will remain for a long time,” said Greg Linza, Facilities and Parks Manager for Mesa County.
All partners, donations, and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) fund the project. GOCO is an organization that receives 50 percent of Colorado Lottery proceeds. This gives the trust fund $56 million dollars to work with each year.
After submitting a request for phase three of the Riverfront trail project, GOCO voted to fund $2.9 million for the project. This funding puts phase three in a good place to start construction on time in January 2013. Linza hopes the phase will be finished by the end of 2013.
The Riverfront Trail consists of a 10-foot wide concrete path to ensure it will last throughout the years. No motorized vehicles of any kind are permitted on the county-maintained trail.
A press conference to announce the generosity of GOCO to the Riverfront Trail project was held at the Blue Heron Boat Ramp on Wednesday, June 20.
Speakers included Donna Ross, Mesa County Regional Services Director; Craig Meis, Chair of Mesa County Board of Commissioners; Tom Burke, a GOCO Board Member; Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO Exeutive Director; Steve Accquafresca, Mesa County Commissioner; and Ken Henry and Katie Steele, Co-Chairs of the project.
“GOCO recognizes all of your efforts and we are very pleased to be a part of the project,” said Burke before he presented the check.
Aangeenbrug also commented, “This is truly an example for the rest of the state on how to get something accomplished.”
The Riverfront Trail project has brought the Grand Valley communities together. The trail is proof of their success working as one unit.
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished with all of the partners in the community working together,” said Henry.