City officials still working to build trail

Property issues impeding construction of 2 mile trail through Craig

A trail extending from Ridgeview to the middle of Craig, a Parks and Recreation Department project that has been put on the city's back burner over the past few years, will have to wait a little longer before being completed.

Department officials, though, hope to have the project underway sometime in the near future.

"We're just playing a waiting game right now," Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike said. "There are some landowner issues that we are facing that we have to clear up, but if we can get that taken care of, we will be in good shape."

The proposed project is a 2.2 mile long trail that will give walkers, bikers and joggers a safer way to travel along U.S. Highway 40.

"Hopefully, if we can get the project underway, we plan on having it extend from the Ridgeview subdivision to Sunset Elementary," Pike said. "It will offer an excellent alternative to people that want to travel to the west edge of town and don't want to have to use Victory Way to do it.

"Another advantage will be that the children living in Ridgeview will be able to now come into town without having to ride their bikes down a main thoroughfare. If everything can come together as we are hoping, it could be a great asset for the whole city."

Pike said that early estimates for the project figure the final cost to be between $250,000 and $300,000. The project will be paid for using a Great Outdoors Colorado Grant for $100,000.

Great Outdoors Colorado funds a variety of outdoor and recreational projects throughout the state, including the Animas River Trail Underpass in Durango and the Bull Canyon Trail at Dinosaur National Monument.

"We have about $300,000 already in place for the trail, so right now money is not the main issue," Pike said. "Our hands are kind of tied at the moment with all of the real estate issues, so we don't want to really press that too much right now, but rather we want to just let that run its course. As soon as our engineers can get the time, though, they are going to start looking at some possible ways that we can begin to get this project completed."

The Parks and Recreation Department also received funds from the Colorado Department of Transportation that won't be allocated until October of this year.

If the city finally gets the green light to begin construction, a 2.2 mile, 10-foot wide cement trail will be constructed that will traverse through rolling hills and flat areas, while also providing a little touch of wildlife viewing for users.

"We want to put in a small watchable wildlife area where users can stop off and see deer, antelope and possibly even some waterfowl," Pike said. "We want the project to show some of the good things about Craig, and hopefully we can highlight some of them on this trail."

One of the main factors in the completion of the trail, aside from real estate issues, is that the city has very few natural causeways on which a trail can be constructed. Normally, when a city looks to build a recreational trail, it is constructed along a creek or other open area, where few legal or property ownership issues can arise.

However, that is not a viable option in Craig.

"We have discussed a few different possibilities," Pike said. "As far as the natural areas go, we only have Fortification Creek and the Craig ditch, but right now, we aren't seriously looking at either of those two areas for this trail. We would like to stick with our plan that would help to connect the city, and our options are somewhat limited.

Pike believes that the having the trail located in Craig will also allow it to be constructed cheaper price than trails have been may in other areas of the state. Early estimates for the trail have come in at $35 per foot for a concrete trail, with some cities being forced to pay more than double that price for construction.

"We want to make this a concrete trail, which may cost more, but in the long run it will hold up better," he said. "Our $35 per foot is very reasonable, considering Steamboat paid $75 a foot for their trail, and I have heard of other cities having to pay even more than that."

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