Virginia Canyon Open Space

View of Virginia Canyon Open Space

New!
The City of Idaho Springs is seeking your input for the Virginia Canyon Open Space Master Plan. This includes a possible name for the Park! An online survey will be available from June 28, 2018-July 13, 2018. Please take a little time to provide your thoughts and ideas to help guide the Master Plan Process! You can access the survey online by clicking the link below:
 
 

 
Informational Boards from the June 18th, 2018 Public Meeting!
Let us know what you think about the Project! 

DESIGN TEAM SELECTED
On April 23, 2018 the Idaho Springs City Council awarded a contract for the planning and design of the Virginia Canyon Open Space
(VCOS) to THK Associates / Tony Boone Trails. The proposal that was accepted can be found at the below link:
VCOS DESIGN PROPOSAL
A Steering Committee is being assembled, and public outreach meetings will begin in the near future. Stay tuned!

 

The City of Idaho Springs is pleased to announce that Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has awarded the City a grant to begin the planning and design of the Virginia Canyon Open Space Park! See the video from 9NEWS

Following is the GOCO press announcement:

Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $62,000 grant to the City of Idaho Springs for the planning and design of trails in Virginia Canyon Open Space. The project was one of 10 awarded funding in a grant cycle with funding requested more than triple what was available.

Virginia Canyon contains 400 acres of mostly undeveloped land, and social trails have been used by the mountain bike community for the last decade. Social trails are informal trails created by the public, and often are not up to safety or sustainability standards. The master planning process will design the first network of multi-use trails in Idaho Springs, helping to further cement the city’s status as a destination community.

Idaho Springs envisions a system of trails that puts the area’s natural beauty and mining history on display. The trail system will ultimately connect directly to downtown, the Argo Mine and Mill, and potentially Central City and the Clear Creek Greenway.

GOCO funding will help establish a steering committee and will also select a consultant to lead trail development, public input processes, and collaboration with Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC). They will develop a long-term operations and maintenance plan, and the final master plan will provide an essential guide to developing trails for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers.

The city aims to have the master plan completed by the end of summer 2018, with work to build trails beginning in the fall and being completed as early as summer 2020. Idaho Springs plans to begin construction with the help of volunteers for COMBA and VOC while pursuing further grant funding to bring the project to the finish line.

To date, GOCO has invested $12.5 million in projects in Clear Creek County and has conserved more than 800  acres of land there. More than $4 million in GOCO funding has supported the Clear Creek Greenway project, and GOCO grants have also been invested in the Tom Benhoff Lake Trail in Evergreen and conserving land for public access on North Floyd Hill, among other projects.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.

 

A request for proposals RFP has been released to solicit design consultants, with an April 6, 2018 deadline.

Request for Proposals Trail Master Plan and Design – Virginia Canyon Open Space (VCOS)

Answers to Consultant Questions

Pre-Bid Meeting Sign – In List

The City thanks GOCO as well as the numerous volunteers and agencies who have gotten us to this point. 

 

VISION

The vision for Idaho Springs' Virginia Canyon Open Space park is a potential recreational park located along the northern hillsides of the City of Idaho Springs to be developed as a world class destination for hiking and mountain biking. The Park is conceptualized to have connections from the Clear Creek Greenway and Virginia Canyon Road / Central City.

 

BACKGROUND

In 1994, Clear Creek County acquired approximately 424 acres of property from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In 2003, the County transferred this property to City of Idaho Springs. As part of the transfer agreement, Idaho Springs prepared a “Long Range Management Plan” for the site. This “Virginia Canyon Open Space Concept Plan” (also known as “Area 28”) was prepared in 2006 through grants with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety) and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). Stakeholders involved in this early process included Clear Creek County, Colorado State Parks, and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The Plan conceptualized 10-15 miles of trails, designed for mountain bikes, at a cost of approximately $160,000-$300,000 for planning and construction. Although there had been initial interest, no additional actions were taken at this time.

 

In 2016 there was renewed interest in the Virginia Canyon Open Space Area, driven by new leadership, design of the Clear Creek Greenway, and potential Argo Mine and Mill redevelopment. Staff began discussing the idea with City leadership and with the Clear Creek Recreational Group. During dialogue regarding another open space project in Clear Creek County, representatives with the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) learned of the area and contacted staff. This led to an increasing amount of discussion regarding the project.

In order to determine the political climate and actual feasibility, Idaho Spring’s staff organized a meeting to discuss the project. This meeting was well attended and included several members of the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA), Team Evergreen (both associations representing thousands of bicyclists), a local bike shop, 6 individuals with Clear Creek County, THK Associates, and the Clear Creek Tourism Bureau. The results of this meeting were overwhelmingly positive, with all individuals voicing their support for staff to move forward and a list of action items.

COMBA began assessing potential trails connections of the area, and completed a Concept Plan that details approximately 15 miles of trails for hikers and bikers.

In July of 2017, staff presented the concept to the City Council, who strongly supported the proposed park and directed staff to move forward with the project. In July, the Board of Directors of the Clear Creek Greenway Authority also voiced their support of the concept and expressed their willingness to participate in the project.  The City intends to begin planning and design through individual grants and donations, with hopes to begin construction of the first trail segments in late 2018 or early 2019.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Vicinity Map of the Virginia Canyon Open Space

July 10, 2017 Staff Report to the City Council

Virginia Canyon Open Space Concept Plan

Clear Creek Courant Article 

FAQ's

Virginia Canyon Open Space Trail Concept Plan 

 

Please direct any questions to:

Alan Tiefenbach
Community Development Planner
City of Idaho Springs
303-567-4421 ext 118
planning@idahospringsco.com