DENVER – Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $680,000 in grants to fund 10 plans for anticipated projects and initiatives in nine counties across the state. Projects include a broad-scale effort to examine and address the disconnect between youth and the outdoors in Chaffee County and another by the Trust For Public Land on behalf of the Metro Denver Nature Alliance (mDNA), a new section of the Clear Creek Greenway providing pedestrian and bike access along the creek in Idaho Springs, a paved pathway traversing Summit County’s Fremont Pass, a rebuild of the Palisade Skate Park, and others.
Planning grants help local governments gather public input, evaluate conditions, and develop strategic plans to meet the outdoor recreation needs of Colorado communities.
The April board meeting marked the first year of annual grant cycles for the local government grant program, which includes the planning grants as well as local parks and outdoor recreation (LPOR) grants and mini grants for projects with total budgets of $60,000 or less.
Planning grant details are as follows:
Big Dry Creek Recreation and Restoration Master Plan, $75,000 grant to the City of Thornton in partnership with Adams County
Streambed erosion has compromised wildlife habitat and the floodplain surrounding Big Dry Creek, and the City of Thornton will craft a plan to restore streambanks and plan for future passive recreation needs. This project is the first phase of floodplain restoration in the corridor, and will also incorporate plans to increase accessibility throughout the 296 acres of open space currently conserved. Public meetings will begin in fall 2016, with the plan being finalized in mid-2017.
Flatirons Meadows Park Master Plan and Construction Documents, $75,000 grant to the Town of Erie
The Town of Erie will develop a master plan and construction documents for Flatiron Meadows Park, a 23-acre site adjacent to a future K-8 school. The plan will create an integrated campus and park connected to Erie’s town-wide trail system. GOCO funding will allow the town to begin the planning process in time to leverage a developer agreement for initial site work.
Inspire Chaffee County Outdoors, $75,000 grant to Chaffee County
Despite the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities in Chaffee County, a significant portion of the population does not regularly get outside, and the Inspire Chaffee County project will identify barriers and communities of greatest need. The project will learn from Lake County, a pilot community for GOCO’s $25 million Inspire Initiative, and will engage a 13-member coalition of diverse statewide and local partners.
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
Clear Creek Greenway, Idaho Springs Segment, $150,000 grant to the City of Idaho Springs
The Clear Creek Greenway is a 35-mile stretch of the Peaks to Plains trail, a vision to construct a continuous trail from Loveland Pass to Adams County. This project will plan for a 2.6-mile section of pedestrian and bike access along Clear Creek in Idaho Springs, a much-demanded but currently non-existent section of trail.
Currently, pedestrians and cyclists must compete with traffic along Idaho Springs’ busiest street, and in many places, cannot easily access Clear Creek. The planning grant will produce shovel-ready construction drawings, help secure funding for construction of the trail segment, and build momentum for completing more gaps in the Clear Creek Greenway.
Leveraging a framework for change, $100,000 grant to the Trust For Public Land on behalf of the Metro Denver Nature Alliance (mDNA); multi-county grant
The newly formed mDNA is an emerging partnership of organizations determined to address the growing disconnect between youth and nature. mDNA includes the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, the Nature Conservancy, and many other organizations eager to establish a methodology for measuring the group’s impact on communities throughout the metro area.
City of Glenwood Springs Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Update, $40,000 grant to the City of Glenwood Springs
The city is updating its parks, recreation, and open space master plan to better address residents’ needs. The new master plan will create a vision moving forward for how the city builds and maintains its parks, trails, open space, and recreational programming.
Palisade Skate Park, $10,000 grant to the Town of Palisade
The Palisade Skate Park was closed in 2014 due to vandalism and safety concerns, but citizens banded together to raise $5,000 for necessary repairs. After seeing how much the community valued the skate park, the town decided to expand and rebuild the park. GOCO funding will support the design and public outreach process, including multiple hands-on youth sessions to give kids and teens ownership and curb vandalism.
Fremont Pass Recreation Path Planning Project, $75,000 grant to Summit County in partnership with Lake County
Summit County partnered with Lake County and Climax Molybdenum Company to construct a paved pathway traversing Fremont Pass. The recreation path will ultimately connect Summit and Lake counties for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists, who currently battle it out with cars on Highway 91. The path will also connect both counties’ trail systems.
Frisco Trails Master Plan, $50,000 grant to the Town of Frisco
Frisco is also looking to give a vision for trail connectivity some structure and will create a comprehensive trails plan for the town with their GOCO grant. The town partnered with Summit County Open Space and Trails and the Dillon Ranger District to secure GOCO funding.
The project is a top priority for Frisco residents, who identified bikeable trails as the most highly used amenity in town. The town’s trails also host millions of visiting Coloradans each year.
Town of Severance Parks Master Plan, $30,000 grant to the Town of Severance
GOCO funding will enable the town to create its first-ever master plan for future park, trail, and open space development as well as program creation and expansion.
The master plan process will set priorities and identify how to best serve residents’ needs for trail connectivity, bike and pedestrian access, community parks and athletics fields, or a new community recreation center. The planning process will also inform the town’s decision around creating a Parks and Recreation Department.
These grants support Governor John Hickenlooper's Colorado the Beautiful initiative by identifying and filling critical gaps in connectivity for trails and open spaces, and GOCO’s new “Protect, Connect, Inspire” strategic plan, which focuses on land conservation, access to parks and trails, and enabling youth to get outdoors.
Read our release about the full range of projects funded by GOCO’s local government grant program. All grants were awarded at the April 7, 2016 Board meeting.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,700 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit goco.org for more information.