Lieber on Midland Trail: ‘I believe this will be the year’

       City Parks Development Manager Chris Lieber thinks 2010 really could be the year the Midland Trail gets extended to Manitou Springs. In any case, parts of it will be built, or at least started on, he said.

Looking east along Fountain Creek, the 26th Street traffic bridge can be seen about 300 hundred feet downstream. Phase 2 of the Midland Trail will set the path in this area near the creek bank.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Similar aspirations have been expressed since Phase 1 of the trail was built between America the Beautiful Park and 21st Street in 2004. But issues have kept cropping up, including funding, right of way and layout.
       “We're making a lot of progress,” Lieber said last week. “I believe this will be the year that significant segments get built. The funding, construction plans and environmental clearances are in place. We just have a couple of very small pieces of right of way that we need to acquire. We're doing that now and we're pretty confident.”
       Following Fountain Creek much of the way, the trail is designed to meet up with a segment being built in Manitou, Lieber said.
       The work will actually go in reverse phase order. Phase 3, between 31st Street and Manitou, is to precede Phase 2, between 21st and 31st. But Lieber said he's “still optimistic we can do at least pieces of that [Phase 2] in later 2010.”
       The change in order resulted from the city putting Phase 2 “on the back burner” during the height of the Highway 24 study (between 2004 and 2008) because of uncertainty about where the Colorado Department of Transpor-tation wanted the trail to ultimately go. “That put us behind a little bit,” Lieber admitted.
       As it is, Phase 2 will follow city streets from 21st to 26th at Fountain Creek. Trail users will also be on streets from Ridge Road to the Garden of the Gods Campground. The Manitou city line runs through the campground.
       The city's Midland Trail funding is coming from three main sources - federal and state grants and the local Trails, Open Space and Trails (TOPS) program that's funded by the open-space sales tax.

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