Trails master plan for Evergreen continues on path to completion

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By Sandy Barnes

Evergreen residents who came to a second meeting on a trails master plan Aug. 20 saw updated maps with proposed paths designed to make the community accessible for pedestrian travel.

“We're looking at the feasibility of paths,” said Chris Vogelsang of OV Consulting, the design firm selected for the trails plan project.

Obtaining easements for the trails, especially through areas where there is private land, will determine their viability, he pointed out.

In the downtown area, many possible locations for trails run through business owners' properties. One proposed path on the south side of Bear Creek would allow people to walk in a wooded area away from traffic. However, it crosses private property that might not be available for acquisition.

Another map presented for review at the Lake House showed a path along Independence Trail, which pedestrians could travel from Meadow Drive to the downtown area without having to negotiate bustling Highway 74.

A small portion of the road could be converted to a one-way street to create the trail, said Volgelsang.

On another portion of Highway 74, where the RTD Park-n-Ride lot is located, a plan for consideration shows a median refuge in the center of the highway to make crossing the busy thoroughfare safer for pedestrians. 

The developing master plan includes a trail from Evergreen High School to the library on Highway 73, one from the high school to Evergreen Lake, and a path from Wilmot Elementary School to Wulf Recreation Center.

Boundaries for the trails plan are the Safeway grocery store on Highway 74, Evergreen High School, the library, downtown and Evergreen Lake.

Vogelsang said community input is an important component of the project and that trails development in Evergreen would take place over an extended period of time.

Building connecting trails through Evergreen also requires cooperative partnerships with Great Outdoors Colorado, the Jefferson County Department of Transportation and Engineering, the Jeffco Planning and Zoning Department, the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, and Denver Mountain Parks, he added.

The trails master plan was funded through a $49,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, with $10,000 in matching funds from the Evergreen Legacy Fund and another $10,800 from in-kind contributions made by EV Studio and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District.

According to the timeline for the project, the trails master plan should be finalized by the end of this year. Trail construction is projected to begin in 2015, using anticipated additional funds from a future GOCO grant and other partner agencies.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.