Core Trail gets design funding for west Steamboat expansion; Construction slated for 2023
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An effort to expand the Yampa River Core Trail to the west end of Steamboat Springs received enough funding this week to complete designs for the project, but years remain before construction can begin.
On Wednesday, the city received confirmation of a $75,000 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which it will match, according to city engineer Ben Beall. By April, officials expect to receive an additional $200,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which the city also will match, using revenue from its accommodations tax.
This comes amid a decade-long effort to expand access to the Core Trail, Beall said, offering a safe way for pedestrians and nonmotorized vehicles to travel throughout Steamboat. In total, Beall expects the extension to cost $4.8 million.
Extending the Core Trail was among the top priorities voiced by residents in surveys the city conducted to inform its parks and recreation master plan last year. About 76% of residents supported the expansion of the Core Trail to Slate Creek, the area just north of the KOA campground.
“In terms of new facilities, this was the number one priority,” Beall said.
Under this most recent extension plan, the trail would run from the Snow Bowl Plaza to the Sleepy Bear Mobile Home Park, where an underpass would take bikers and pedestrians north under U.S. Highway 40, Beall said. From there, the trail would transition to a gravel path and follow U.S. 40 until it links with an existing trail that goes to Silver Spur. It would end at the intersection with Routt County Road 42.
The first phase of the project would extend the trail to Sleepy Bear, Beall said. Construction is expected to start in 2023. The $200,000 from CDOT and the city’s match would fund that portion. A second phase would complete the extension.
“While we’d love to get it done all at once, that’s not a reality based on funding availability,” Beall said.
The city is hoping to partner with local stakeholders to help fund future construction. Last year, the Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute financially to the project. Commissioner Beth Melton said the commission has not discussed in detail how much they would invest and are waiting to hear updates from the city.
In 2018, the county contributed about $21,000 to build a concrete trail connecting the downtown area to Snow Bowl Plaza.
Beall also discussed the possibility of partnering with the Steamboat Springs School District, which is in the process of constructing a new school south of Silver Spur. Superintendent Brad Meeks voiced support for the project, saying it would offer a safe way for students to travel to and from the new school.
When the extension is complete, Beall said the 1,300 residents from the Silver Spur and Steamboat II neighborhoods would benefit from the downtown trail access. It also could serve the two proposed neighborhoods of Overlook Park subdivision and West Steamboat Neighborhoods.
Officials are unsure when the entire extension will be completed, according to Beall. Much of the timeline depends on funding availability and securing easements where the proposed path runs through private property.
“I know folks are maybe frustrated it doesn’t exist now, but these things take time,” he said.
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