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The Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District (CCRD) is working in conjunction with the City of Florence and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to create a plan to address safe pedestrian travel between Mackenzie Avenue and Florence River Park on the far east side of Florence. In order to correct the record, we felt it necessary to respond to some of the recently published articles and letters in the local newspapers.
• The 2015 Eastern Fremont County Trails, Open Space and River Corridor Master Plan was a 15 month project facilitated by a professional design firm. The master plan was a community-wide process which involved multiple public meetings, user group meetings and many technical work group meetings. This plan was approved by the City of Cañon City, the City of Florence, the CCRD and Fremont County. Agricultural interests were represented.
• The master plan identifies several route options with respect to a trail being constructed from Mackenzie Avenue eastward to Florence River Park.
• As identified in this master plan, a preferred route is the route which continues the trail along the old ATSF Railroad grade – a portion of which is owned by the Fremont Sanitation District and is therefore publicly owned land. An additional portion is part of an existing public utility easement. The CCRD Board of Directors has not rendered a decision on a final route.
• The extension of the Arkansas Riverwalk Trail could provide safe pedestrian travel between the City of Cañon City and the City of Florence.
• CDOT regional transportation funding in the amount of $250,000 has been committed for a project to study, design and engineer a safe route which connects Cañon City and Florence for all types of pedestrian travel including walking, biking and equestrian. Match funding has been committed by the City of Florence ($20,000) and the CCRD ($30,000) for this project.
• The planning process, which will involve an independent professional design / engineering firm, is expected to examine all possible routes as part of the due diligence with this project.
• In an attempt to secure a Connect Initiative grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) that could have provided construction funding for the trail extension in the years 2018 - 2020, we requested and received letters of support and/or funding commitments from the City of Florence, the City of Cañon City, Fremont Sanitation District, Cañon City Noon Lions Club, a private land owner and a private donor.
• We requested similar support from Fremont County, and we were denied.
It is important to plan and to work toward a prosperous future for our community by striving for solutions and capturing opportunities while respecting our agricultural heritage.
We will continue work on this important public project and be responsive to the entire community. Our board meetings take place on the second Tuesday of every month, and are open to the public. We welcome anyone who wishes to engage in this issue to contact any of the CCRD board members or Executive Director, Jim Hoar
CCRD Board Members: Ken Burger, Paul Trentzsch, Kalem Lenard, Scott Johnson & Jim Johnson