The town of Hayden will explore the possibility of restoring Dry Creek at a meeting with river restoration experts Monday night.
Town Manager Russ Martin is encouraging interested residents to attend the meeting, which will gauge the community's interest in the potential project while understanding what will be involved in restoring the waterway that runs through town. The restoration project would run from Dry Creek Park to the Yampa River.
"This is just to see if it makes sense," he said.
The town has about $68,000 in state trails grant money, which was matched by town funds to build a trail through Dry Creek Park.
The funds originally were meant to build a trail from Town Park to U.S. Highway 40, but the money was not enough to build the trail and purchase land necessary for the project.
With the funds re-allocated to the Dry Creek Park trail, at least one community member suggested -- and the Town Board agreed -- that the town might consider restoring Dry Creek in addition to building a trail, Martin said.
To understand the scope of restoring the creek, which is overgrown with vegetation and difficult to access, Martin invited Troy Thompson of Ecological Resource Consultants, a firm Martin worked with on a similar project while he was the town manager of Minturn.
Based on Thompson's conclusion and residents' input, the town may restore just a portion of the creek or delay the project for another time.
Property owners who may be affected by restoration efforts were not specifically invited to the meeting, because it is just looking at the feasibility of the overall project. The town will involve affected property owners and other players if it decides to proceed with restoration efforts, Martin said.
"If we don't pursue it now, at least we know what we're getting ourselves into if we want to do it in the future," he said.
Jeff Fry of Bears Ears Construction is a strong supporter of the Dry Creek Trail and proposed restoration efforts, which will add to the overall appeal of Hayden and will help lure new economic development to the area, he said.
"The ultimate goal is when families start looking for a place to live, Hayden, with this new trail system, will attract them and economic growth," said Fry, who has offered to donate his time and equipment to help with the projects.
Martin said the town's goal in building the trail and possibly restoring Dry Creek is for residents' enjoyment, though economic growth could be an added benefit.
"The focus is to provide an amenity for current residents, and certainly making that economic development connection is not out of the question," he said.
For information about the meeting, call Martin at 276-3741.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail email@example.com