MZCO Receives $5.8 Million for Trail

07/16/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (207 resident, 18 non-resident), Archuleta (38 resident, 33 non-resident), Montezuma (109), Dolores (1), San Juan (2). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (2), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 49,436 cases, 6,572 hospitalized, 1,852 deaths among cases, 1,729 deaths due to COVID-19, 568,127 tested, 509 outbreaks, colorado.gov
15 year-old, Durango, Colorado girl, Jaden Forquer is missing since 2 pm, August 5. Description: brown hair, brown eyes, 5'7-5'8, 145-155 lbs, last told a friend that she was in a vehicle up by Denver heading towards Wyoming. Please contact local law enforcement with any information.

The long-imagined Paths to Mesa Verde received a huge boost this summer with a $5.8 million grant to start construction on the 7-mile section between Mancos and the national park.

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A TEN-YEAR DREAM TO BUILD A HIKING AND BIKING TRAIL FROM MANCOS TO CORTEZ RECEIVED A HUGE BOOST THIS SUMMER WHEN MONTEZUMA COUNTY RECEIVED A $5.8 MILLION GRANT TO START CONSTRUCTION. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY TARGET RENTAL, SERVING THE FOUR CORNERS FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. CONSTRUCTON ON THE FIRST SEVEN MILES OF THE PATHS TO MESA VERDE TRAIL PROJECT NOW WILL BEGIN, THANKS TO A $5.8 MILLION GRANT FROM THE COLORADO FEDERAL LANDS ACCESS PROGRAM MANAGED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION THROUGH THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. ITS THE LARGEST AWARD TO DATE FOR THE LONG-IMAGINED PROJECT. PATHS TO MESA VERDE IS A 17-MILE HIKE AND BIKE TRAIL THAT WILL CONNECT MANCOS TO MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK AND MESA VERDE TO CORTEZ. MONTEZUMA COUNTY NATURAL RESOURCES DIRECTOR JAMES DIETRICH SAID THE IDEA FOR THE PATH HAS BEEN TOSSED AROUND FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS, BUT THE PROJECT DIDN'T COALESCE UNTIL C-DOT AWARDED THE COUNTY  A $400,000 PLANNING GRANT IN 2014 FOR THE SEVEN-MILE SEGMENT BETWEEN MANCOS AND MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK. THEN, IN 2016, COLORADO GOVERNOR JARED POLIS NAMED THE TRAIL AS ONE OF 16 TOP-PRIORITY TRAIL PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED AS PART OF HIS COLORADO THE BEAUTIFUL PROGRAM. WITH ADDITIONAL FUNDING SUPPORT FROM CORTEZ AND MANCOS, PLANNING ON THE EASTERN PORTION OF THE TRAIL WAS FAR ENOUGH ALONG TO QUALIFY FOR ANOTHER NEARLY $200,000 GRANT FROM GREAT OUTDOORS COLORADO. THE GO-CO GRANT WILL BE USED TO FUND THE $1 MILLION LOCAL MATCH REQUIRED BY THE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION GRANT. DIETRICH SAID MANCOS AND CORTEZ WILL ASSIST WITH FUNDING, AND THE COUNTY WILL SEEK ADDITIONAL STATE AND FEDERAL GRANTS TO MEET THE MATCH. LOCAL MATCH ON THAT IS GOING TO RUN ABOUT $800,000. SO, WE'RE, WE STILL GOT SOME FUNDRAISING TO DO, BUT THAT, THAT CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY DOABLE. AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE AMOUNT OF DOLLARS WE'RE LEVERAGING, THAT, THAT IS JUST AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT.THE TRAIL WILL BE 10 FEET WIDE, HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE, AND FINISHED WITH HARD-PACKED CRUSHED GRAVEL. IT WILL PARALLEL U.S. HIGHWAY 160 WITHIN THE HIGHWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY.WE'LL TRY TO GET, KEEP THE TRAIL AS FAR AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE PAVEMENT AS POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE SAFETY AS WELL AS THE USER EXPERIENCE. SO YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY IT GETS PRETTY TIGHT THROUGH THERE AND WE'RE, WE'RE LOOKING AT SOME PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL RETAINING WALLS, AND YOU KNOW, AT PLACES WHERE WE MAY EVEN HAVE TO NARROW THE TRAIL SLIGHTLY, SO IT WILL TAKE SOME VALUE ENGINEERING TO GET US THERE.DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION ON THE FIRST SEVEN MILES OF THE TRAIL ARE EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY 2026. LEAP-FROGGING WITH THAT TIMELINE, THE COUNTY HOPES TO BEGIN WORK ON SHOVEL-READY CONSTRUCTION PLANS TO CONNECT THE PATH FROM MESA VERDE TO THE MONTEZUMA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS, THANKS TO A $450,000 GRANT FROM THE MULTI-MODAL OPTIONS FUND CREATED BY THE COLORADO LEGISLATURE. ONCE THE SEGMENT FROM MANCOS TO CORTEZ IS COMPLETE, DIETRICH SAID THE COUNTY HOPES TO EXPAND THE TRAIL TO THE EAST.YOU KNOW, OUR, OUR GRAND VISION FOR THIS TRAIL IS REALLY TO EXTEND IT ALL THE WAY TO DURANGO. AND, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY DON'T HAVE TOO MUCH IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC EXPORTS, BUT WE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE VERY RELIANT ON AGRICULTURE AND TOURISM. AND SO THIS FITS RIGHT INTO THE TOURISM PIECE OF IT, AND I FEEL LIKE WE, WE JUST REALLY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO KIND OF KEEP OURSELVES ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WITH ALL THE OTHER COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE STATE, WHICH WE'RE IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH FOR THOSE TOURISTS. SO, YEAH, WE'RE UNDERWAY. GOOD THINGS TAKE A LONG TIME IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO SOMETIMES, BUT, BUT WE'RE, WE'RE, WE'RE ON OUR WAY.IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE MORE DETAILED PLANS FOR THE PATHS TO MESA VERDE PROJECT, VISIT MONTEZUMA COUNTY DOT ORG. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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