Two grants awarded to Great Western Trail Authority for trail construction between Severance and Windsor |

Two grants awarded to Great Western Trail Authority for trail construction between Severance and Windsor

After applying for grants in the past and not receiving any money for it efforts, the Great Western Trail Authority hit a home run this time around.

The GWTA was recently awarded two large construction grants totaling $160,250 that will fund 3.1 miles of trail improvements along the Great Western Trail between Severance and Windsor.

“We have applied for grants for a couple of years and not been successful. This is the first that we’ve been successful, and so it was very satisfying to finally get a successful grant through,” said Andy Nagel, chairman of the GWTA.

According to a press release from the GWTA, a Colorado Parks & Wildlife Program grant of $100,000 and a separate $60,250 grant from Colorado Safe Routes to School will be used to top the existing railroad grade with a crusher fines trail surface, landscape trail shoulders with native grasses, and add crosswalks and signage at county road crossings to enhance safety for all trail users.

Local partners in the grants include the towns of Windsor, Severance and Eaton, West Greeley Conservation District, Weld County Youth Conservation Corps and Severance Middle School.

Nagel said credit should also go to Crow Creek Construction from Greeley and grant writer Karen Scopel for assistance in the grant applications.

“There is a local match that is part of the Colorado State Trails grant. For the $100,000 that they are giving us as part of the grant, we have to come up with 30 percent of that amount in local funds, half of which can be in in-kind contributions or donations and the other half needs to be in cash,” Nagel said. “There will be an additional $30,000 in the project that will come from a combination of funds provided by our trail authority and the contributions provided by the trail partners that includes the town of Severance, Eaton and Windsor and some of the subcontractors that will be involved in the project as well. We have that already in place.”

A primary goal of the trail upgrade is to encourage year-round walking or biking to school by students at Severance Middle School. The school is located next to the trail, but south of Severance where the majority of students live.

“It’s fortunate that the trail is located where it is because the Severance Middle School is approximately two miles away from the main population center of Severance, and it’s difficult for students to safely walk or bike to school on narrow county roads,” Nagel said. “The trail, which passes about 300 yards or so from the school, provides an ideal, safe way for students to get exercise and reduce environmental impacts from riding in parents’ cars and buses and utilizes the trail we think in a very environmentally friendly way. The section that we’re talking about is roughly 3.1 miles from (Weld) County Road 74 – Harmony Road – as it passes through Severance to the northeast corner of Windsor where the trail meets up with the Windsor bicycle trail system.”

Work will begin in September 2012 with the bulk of the work to be completed in summer 2013, he said.

“It’ll be somewhat of an ongoing project because we intend to plant native grasses as part of the shoulders to the trail, and that will be something that will take a couple of years of establishment and work,” Nagel said. “The main construction activities, which is the overlay of new crusher fines surface, should be completed by the middle of next summer.”

The trail also provides area residents with opportunities for non-motorized recreation such as walking, running, biking and cross-country skiing.

“The entire trail when completed will be 11.7 miles extending from Eaton through Severance all the way to Windsor, but we started the development of the section between Severance and Windsor first because that’s where the bulk of the users, the population, lies between those two towns,” Nagel said. “With the location of Severance Middle School roughly in the middle of that section, it made it an obvious grant opportunity for us because of the tie in with the Safe Routes school program and the Colorado State Trails grant.”

There are nine appointed directors on the GWTA, three members for each town representing Windsor, Eaton and Severance. The GWTA was formed in 2006.

Receiving the grants is a boost to finishing the trail.

“Until we were successful in landing these grants, the time frame was very indefinite,” Nagel said.

Nagel said if the GWTA, which was formed in 2006, can continue to on a fairly regular basis attract grant funding and other private contributions, he thinks it is reasonable to assume that the remainder of the trail could be completed in about five years.

“In order to complete the entire 11.7-mile trail, we will need to continue to land major construction grants,” Nagel said.

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