Eagle nets $41,000 grant for boat ramp project
Greater Outdoors Colorado will be chipping in $41,000 toward a new rafting ramp along the Eagle River at Eagle’s Chambers Park.
The Eagle Town Board is slated to award a bid for the project next week and construction is slated to begin shortly thereafter. The town set aside $90,000 for the project in its 2014 budget.
“These projects are best done before or after peak flows,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney. “We missed our spring window for construction but the good news is the GOCO grant will cover more than half of the estimated cost of the project.”
In a press release issued this week, Greater Outdoors Colorado noted the Eagle project will create an eddy to allow boaters to safely access a new concrete boat ramp, resulting in a safer ten mile float trip from Wolcott to Eagle. This is currently not possible due to the high water velocity that can cause boaters to miss the boat ramp, sending them downriver to encounter Class IV rapids.
Stavney noted use at existing raft take-out, located behind the Eagle Regional Visitor Information Center, has exceeded the site’s capabilities. Additionally, rafters report the take-out is difficult to use.
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“If you talk to local rafting outfitters, they have largely abandoned that location,” said Stavney. “This should bring the outfitters back to Eagle.”
John Staight, Eagle’s open space coordinator, noted the GOCO staff embraced the project because it addressed safety concerns while promoting recreational activity.
“This really meets both of their main criteria,” said Staight.
Once a contractor is selected and the contract is signed, Staight estimated the boat ramp project can be completed in two to three weeks.
In its announcement of the Eagle project, GOCO detailed five Colorado projects that will receive a total of $180,000 this year.
The projects cover a broad range of outdoors initiatives in Colorado communities, including the first water recreation area in Buena Vista, Olney Springs’ new community playground, unique environmental educational opportunities in Larimer County and the restoration of trails washed out by September 2013 floods in Cañon City.
The GOCO Board approved the five mini-grants worth more than $180,000 to allow these projects to come to life in their respective communities. The GOCO mini-grant program is designed for projects with a total cost of less than $60,000. The lucky grantees were selected from a pool of 13 applications seeking nearly $500,000 in assistance.
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 by voters in 1992, GOCO has funded more than 3,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. The grants are funded by GOCO’s share of Colorado Lottery revenues, which are divided between GOCO, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Conservation Trust Fund and school construction.