Oak Creek exploring addition of greenway, similar to Steamboat’s Core Trail, that would run through town | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek exploring addition of greenway, similar to Steamboat’s Core Trail, that would run through town

The town of Oak Creek is exploring a greenway that would run behind local businesses and along the creek. l Town of Oak Creek/Courtesy image

OAK CREEK — The town of Oak Creek is hoping to build a greenway, a shared-use path along a strip of land for recreational use, that would run through town.

Similar to the Yampa River Core Trail in Steamboat Springs, the greenway would feature a trail running along the town’s namesake creek, with access to the creek from various points.

The project was inspired by the town’s recreation master plan, which residents compiled in 2014. In the plan, respondents identified a desire for a dog park, a trail running parallel to the creek, better conservation for plants and wildlife in the creek, and better access to parks.

“We have the name Oak Creek; this is something we definitely need,” Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel said.

Ashleigh Quillen, senior associate landscape architect at Carbondale-based DHM Design Corp., who worked with the town on outlining the project, said the idea is still in its early stages and can be adapted based on residents’ changing wants.

“Really, one of the focuses along the creek was to preserve the natural habitat because it was in really good condition,” Quillen said. “Some of the main goals for this segment were to preserve the creek, to highlight the creek and to provide some educational opportunities from this park setting.”

In addition to creating a nice walkway through town, town board members hope the trail can run behind businesses sitting along the creek, giving businesses an opportunity to open back patios and create a more aesthetic landscape.

Quillen highlighted the potential economic benefit of adding a greenway.

“If you enhanced the creek, enhanced the habitat and really made this a nice looking edge of the riparian corridor, we think this could be a really neat way to connect that business with the creek,” she said.

The plan also proposes connecting the trail to a 1.8-acre fenced dog park, which would include picnic tables and a pedestrian bridge, located on the far north end of the greenway.

While all board members said they understood the need for a dog park, member Rhonda Crawford was concerned about the park being located in what she said is deer habitat.

“I think this would displace a lot of (deer) and maybe not be the ideal spot for a dog park,” Crawford said.

In response, Quillen said the group has carefully researched wildlife in each area of the project, but more research would be done before committing to a specific location of the park.

“If the town wants to not pursue certain segments, or we want to change the uses of different pieces of town property, that is certainly on the table,” Knoebel added.

Quillen also proposed a boardwalk along the trail, which would be built over sensitive habitats. The boardwalk would provide rest and overlook areas, as well as a riparian-wildlife interpretive walk, Quillen suggested.

The board first discussed the topic at its Oct. 26 meeting, and no decisions were made at that time, but board member Bill Neumann said he would begin searching for grant funding and proposing the idea to local volunteer groups, as to save the town money on construction.

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