Eagle lands $350K GOCO grant, to be invested in the town’s river park
EAGLE — A state agency gave Eagle a big hand in paying for its river park dreams.
Great Outdoors Colorado awarded Eagle a $350,000 grant to help build the Upland Park portion of Eagle River Park. Eagle’s project was one of 14 selected for funding from a pool of 59, with requested funding for projects more than triple what was available.
“The GOCO funds will help the town complete the Upland Park public park features, transforming a once-vacant dirt lot into a vibrant river park for the people of Eagle,” said Brandy Reitter, town manager.
Town board members took a tour Friday morning, March 16, crawling over concrete features and walking through the riverbed to get a closer look.
The river’s park’s in-stream wave features broke ground in December. The town will start work on the Upland Park section of the park later this year.
GOCO funds will build a parking lot, bathrooms, picnic pavilions, tables, benches, paths and access ramps and add native vegetation to the river park. Excavation work will accommodate a new entrance along Fairgrounds Road to maximize parking and minimize highway noise.
The town will build enough covered picnic seating for 50 people and will build a 6,000-square-foot lawn, in addition to a gear-staging area that can fit long trailers or vendor tents during events. Ultimately, the park will connect to the Eagle Valley Trail as part of another GOCO-funded project that will build out the trail to Horn Ranch Open Space.
The site will be completely ADA accessible, with paved paths, a viewing platform overlooking two whitewater features and an access ramp to the water’s edge. Local guide company Alpine Quest Sports has also consulted on the project to ensure the finished park will meet the needs of youth programs for kids to learn to kayak and stand-up paddleboard.
The town hopes to attract events from Vail’s wildly popular GoPro Mountain Games with the venue. The goal is to finish the project by the end of 2019.
Paying for it
When the park was conceived, it was expected to cost roughly $1.6 million, the amount being bandied about when Eagle voters approved a 0.5 percent sales tax in April 2016 to pay for it.
After analyzing various phases of the project, the whitewater park is now expected to cost $2.7 million. All in, the entire park is expected to cost $5.9 million. Eagle is applying for local, regional, state and federal grants, as well as grants from private foundations, to help pay for it.
GOCO has invested $30 million in projects in Eagle County, helping conserve more than 7,000 acres of open space. GOCO funding recently supported the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement, dedicated to getting kids outside, with a $1.4 million grant awarded in December. GOCO funding has also supported the county’s purchase of Hardscrabble Ranch Open Space, Sylvan Lake State Park and the Eagle Valley Trail.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.