Midland Trail section to be built from Columbia Rd. to Beckers Ln.

       After more than six years, the wait is almost over for construction of a new segment of the Midland Trail.
       Sarah Bryarly of City Parks said this week that contractor Pioneer Sand will start work west from Columbia Road Monday, Oct. 4.
       Crews will install a 12-foot-wide concrete trail with gravel shoulders from there to Beckers Lane in Manitou Springs. The trail will follow Fountain Creek along that stretch. The distance will be about a third of a mile. Depending on the weather, work is expected to be complete within 60 days.
       At Beckers, the trail will meet the Manitou Springs Creek Path, which Manitou has been building over the past few years.
       The section immediately west of Columbia will be through the south edge of the Garden of the Gods campground. An easement for the trail had been set aside by former owner Chuck Murphy before he sold the RV park in 2006.
       Closer to Beckers, the trail will go behind Manitou Springs High School's Mustang Field.
       The first part of the Midland Trail was built between America the Beautiful Park and 21st Street in 2004. The city had hoped to extend it westward as early as the following year, but issues of easements, costs and federal and state reviews have combined to prevent any work from happening, City Parks officials have explained over the years.
       The money part was finalized two years ago with a $590,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant to go with a previously awarded $600,000 federal grant, $25,500 from Manitou Springs' open-space funds and $1.1 million from Colorado Springs' Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) fund.
       The Columbia-to-Beckers segment is part of “Phase 3” of the trail. The rest of that phase, from 31st Street to Columbia, awaits only a final sign-off from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Bryarly said she is “optimistic” that approval will come in a few weeks, but she can't definitely predict a time frame.
       Phase 2, between 21st and 31st, also is close to being finalized, but is a little farther off than Phase 3, Bryarly said.

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