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More of North Evergreen trail to be built

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Organizers to make use of $200,000 GOCO grant

By Vicky Gits

After a three-year hiatus, construction could begin this year on another portion of the hard-surface NEAT trail in the Bergen Parkway area, made possible by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and Colorado State Trails.

“This project will give us one complete segment of trail from Evergreen Middle School to Broadmoor Drive, and that feels great,” said Liz Cohen, president of the North Evergreen Activity Trail group, which has led the trail construction project for five years.

Jefferson County Road and Bridge will perform the construction work, but a firm groundbreaking date has not yet been set. Jefferson County is looking at an August-September time frame, but the NEAT board is hoping to work with the county to get the project finished before school starts.

The goal this year is to build one-half mile of trail, which will complete the partially built route and make the Meadow Trail 0.8 mile long from the Evergreen Middle School to Broadmoor Drive.

The long-range goal is a 2-mile-long, concrete trail connecting Evergreen Middle School with Bergen Valley Elementary School through the commercial center of Bergen Park and Sugarbush Drive.

The trail was conceived by NEAT, a private, nonprofit group founded in 2004 to make it safer for children to walk and bike between Evergreen Middle School, Bergen Valley Elementary, Bergen Meadow Elementary and Buchanan Rec Center.

So far the group has raised more than $500,000 from various sources, including $200,000 in April 2008 from Great Outdoors Colorado.

It has also obtained $150,000 in funds for project engineering, design and construction from Jefferson County and $12,000 from local homeowner associations such as The Ridge, The Trails, The Island, The Promontory and Hiwan Filings 1-4.

The most challenging aspect of the project is that Evergreen does not have a municipal government, “which typically would address infrastructure and safety issues in a town like ours,” Cohen said.

Two separate segments totaling 0.3 miles were built in 2006. Two pedestrian-activated crosswalks were added in 2007. At this time, there are no funds to build the rest of the trail to Bergen Village.

Cohen hopes a question about building trails can be written into an upcoming community needs assessment survey and hopes NEAT can partner with the Evergreen Park and Recreation District if the community determines that trails are a priority.

“NEAT believes there is a high demand for community trails that connect our homes and schools to our recreation and shopping,” Cohen said. “Community trails will be one of the elements in EPRD's upcoming community needs analysis. … If the community confirms that linkage and access trails are a priority, we hope to partner with EPRD to accomplish these goals.”

Evergreen Park and Recreation has agreed to maintain the trails.

The group has also reached an agreement with the Evergreen Fire Protection District to create a donor recognition area at the fire department headquarters.

For more information, visit www.NEATevergreen.org.

Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com.

Funding North Evergreen Activity Trails

$200,000, April 2008, Great Outdoors Colorado and federal Land and Water Conservation fund. (Colorado State Trails in partnership with GOCO)

$150,000 Jefferson County (construction costs, project design, and engineering.)

$89,000 federal Safe Routes to School program (two grants)

$12,000 (The Ridge, The Trails, The Island, The Promontory and Hiwan Filings 1-4)

$60,000 from residents, businesses and schools.