Trail link to downtown gets go-ahead

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Agreement reached with city of Denver

By Sandy Barnes

The Evergreen Park and Recreation District has successfully negotiated an agreement with Denver that will allow the long-delayed trail connection project at Evergreen Lake to begin this fall.

Even though Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has yet to sign the new agreement, the city is permitting the park district to move forward with construction of the 200-foot trail along Highway 74, said EPRD Executive Director Scott Robson.

“From our standpoint, it’s a complex issue,” Robson said of the project.

Before work on the trail could begin, the project design required approval from the city of Denver, which owns the Lake Park property. Also, Denver city attorneys requested a new agreement with EPRD to replace the existing one defining responsibilities and management of the Lake Park property.

An additional complication is that the bid for the trail connection project came in at $257,000, which was higher than expected, Robson said.

While the park district did receive a $250,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to help with the cost, the state funds received were to be used for the entire trail improvement project at Evergreen Lake — not just the trail connection from the base of the dam to the lake, said Robson.

“We’ve already contributed EPRD dollars to the loop trail,” he explained. “The GOCO grant allows us to use those dollars.”

The pending project along Highway 74 involves placing two piers in the bank to create an elevated trail. The original trail plan developed by Evergreen architect Dean Dalvit of EV Studios has been redesigned to circumvent land-disturbing excavation on the hillside. When completed, the trail will provide a desirable alternative to the steep metal stairs people currently are using.

The contract for the trail project has been awarded to Goodland Construction of Golden. No Evergreen contractors bid on the project, Robson noted.

After the trail is completed, railing will be added along the sides of the path. The cost of the railing is not included in the bid for the project.

The Downtown Evergreen Economic District, of which Dalvit is president, has agreed to contribute $30,000 to the project, Robson said. Dalvit also donated his time to create the trail design.

During discussion of the trail connection project at the EPRD board of directors meeting on July 22, board member Janet Doyle said clarification was needed regarding ownership of the trail improvements. She also suggested keeping residents informed about the progress of the project and planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony when it is completed.

The boardwalk replacement at Evergreen Lake was completed earlier this month.

About 40 percent of the funding to replace the aging boardwalk came from a Jefferson County Parks and Open Space grant, and the remainder from EPRD funds, said Robson.

The total cost of the project is still being tallied. When EPRD financial controller Karen Messler finishes her review of expenses associated with boardwalk replacement, the park district may request funds that Jefferson County receives from the state, which are already allocated to the EPRD.

“It’s kind of a rainy-day fund,” Messler said of the funds generated by state Senate Bill 35 for park improvements.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.