Midland Trail needs grant for construction of Phases 2 & 3

       After four years of design and study, Phases 2 and 3 of the Midland Trail have run into a new snag: money.
       With construction costs rising universally, the city has applied for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) in hopes that the state lottery proceeds can supplement the existing pot of money for the project.
       On the plus side, if approved, the $590,000 grant will not only cover the cost increases, it will help Manitou Springs complete a key segment on its side and, ultimately, provide a trail connecting Manitou's Schryver Park with Colorado Springs' America the Beautiful Park.
       However, because of the grant-review time frame - GOCO is not scheduled to announce a decision until October - approval would not occur soon enough for Colorado Springs Parks to start any of the construction this year, according to City Parks grant writer Aimee Cox. The department's plan with the grant would be to start construction in '09, she said.
       Also a Manitou Springs City Council member, Cox said her grant calls for Colorado Springs to manage the $517,000 expenditure, which would include $73,000 for a segment on the Manitou side - between its ball field off Beckers Lane and the boundary between the two cities in the middle of the Garden of the Gods Campground. (From Beckers, Cox said Manitou has separate plans to build trail along the creek to Schryver Park this year - a path already exists between Schryver and the Manitou chamber.)
       Manitou calls its portion the Fountain Creek Trail, while the Colorado Springs side is named for the former Midland railway that ran through the Westside and up Ute Pass.
       Armed with money from federal sources and the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax, Colorado Springs Parks has been trying to extend the multiuse Midland Trail west since building Phase 1 in 2004 from America the Beautiful Park up to 21st Street. Phase 2's scope is 21st to 31st, and Phase 3's is from 31st to the Manitou city limits. But easement and state review issues have delayed matters till this year, when Colorado Springs Parks staffers realized that the $1.7 million in previous grants for those two phases was no longer enough.
       As planned, the new trail will mostly follow Fountain Creek, with on-street sections along Cucharras Avenue and 25th Street between 21st and the 25th Street bridge over Fountain Creek and along the north side of Colorado Avenue from Ridge Road to the campground. Because of right of way issues in places, portions of the latter segment will not have actual sidewalk at first, Cox said.

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