Steamboat Springs City of Steamboat Springs staff plan to forgo a chance to apply for a $1 million grant toward the southern extension of the Yampa River Core Trail because of the project's escalating price tag and a lack of matching funds to get it done.
Also a factor was the recent recommendation of the new trails lodging tax steering committee to fund with the tax only about 6 percent of the project's estimated $3.5 million cost.
The city still is leaving the door open to some Core Trail extensions in the future.
“It still is possible to break the trail into smaller, more financially manageable segments,” city staff wrote in a memo to the Steamboat Springs City Council included in its Tuesday meeting packet. “These segments could be presented to the 2A trails committee for consideration.”
When city staff first learned about the lucrative Great Outdoors Colorado Grant, lengthening the Core Trail to the Legacy Ranch was estimated to cost about $1.7 million.
In November, Winnie DelliQuadri, the city's government programs manager, outlined all of the challenges of the project, including possibly having to construct three expensive bridges to building the trail on wetlands and through a floodplain.
As further research was done, the cost estimate more than doubled to the current $3.5 million.
At a cost of $1.05 million, the bridges were the “driving factor” in the project cost, city staff said.
The city looked at other options, including constructing a soft-surface trail, but came to the conclusion that because the trail needed to cross wetlands and was in an area prone to flooding, it likely would need expensive repairs and reconstruction every year.
The southern Core Trail extension is on the city's parks projects list and isn't slated to receive any funding in the six-year capital improvement program approved by the City Council.
The trails lodging tax committee Wednesday voted, 5-1, to recommend that the Core Trail extension south to the Legacy Ranch receive $200,000 of the accommodations tax throughout four years.
The decision came after committee members graded the project on a wide range of criteria and ranked the project more in the middle range of its priorities.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10
Join the Yampa Valley VIP email club