Red Rock’s 31st Street trailhead to start ‘06 work

       Going into its second full year as one of the city's largest open-space properties, Red Rock Canyon Open Space currently offers a 60-car parking lot at High Street off Highway 24, about seven miles of hiking trails and an off-leash dog area.
       Planned for 2006 are the following, according to Parks Development Manager Chris Lieber:
  • A trailhead at High Street, including a restroom and “100-plus” parking spaces.
  • A trailhead at 31st Street south of Highway 24, including a restroom and 30 parking spaces for cars and 8 for horse trailers.
  • A trail from the 31st Street trailhead to the existing Red Rock Canyon Trail in the park interior.
  • More trails, primarily in the western half of the 788.1-acre property.
  • Improvements to existing trails, including the connection from the Bevers Place access in Crystal Hills.
  • Architectural and engineering work in preparation for converting the boarded-up Bock family house into an open-air pavilion.
       In 2005, more than 900 volunteers joined City Parks staff in building about two miles of trail in the western half of the Red Rock property. This work allowed the city to open another two miles of Bock-built roads that will eventually be narrowed into trails, Lieber said. With three miles having been opened in 2004, that makes seven trail miles in all, he noted.
       Expressing appreciation for the citizen contributions, Lieber said the city is “looking for a heavy volunteer effort in '06, focused on trail work.” A schedule will be released in the near future, he added.
       A major trail project will be organized with the Denver-based Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) in 2006. The VOC, a statewide trail-building group, helped lead the volunteer construction of the first new trails that were built in Red Rock in August 2004. Slated in two phases - a smaller, youth-geared effort in May and the main push in October - the VOC project is planned in the upper part of the property. About 1 ˝ miles will be built. Roughly half the length will be on the rugged terrain between the Sand, Greenlee and Red Rock canyons, with the less arduous remainder looping down to the Red Rock Canyon Trail, Lieber explained.
       Plans call for the earliest work in 2006 to be development of the 31st Street trailhead. Bids are to go out in late January, with construction to start by early spring. The trail from there to the park interior is to be built by early summer. That way, people can use the 31st Street trailhead when work on the High Street trailhead starts around the same time, Lieber estimated.
       Construction of both trailheads had once been anticipated to take place in 2005, but were delayed while the city waited for money from a previously approved Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant. The city eventually decided to go ahead with the work in 2006, using Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) funds that will later be repaid from GOCO.
       A third trailhead, at 26th Street near Lower Gold Camp Road, is in the master plan, but it is not yet known what year it will be developed. It would provide access to the southeast part of the park, but none of the master-planned trails in that area are in the current year's plans.
       A construction date is also not determined yet for the pavilion. Lieber said there is only enough money in '06 to pay for architectural and engineering aspects; he hopes that fund-raising might help pay the building cost by 2007 or 2008. City Parks decided this year to tear down the Bock house, but use its architectural features - principally the rear, stone wall - in a pavilion that could serve as an open-air shelter and informational area. According to a Lieber estimate to the Park Advisory Board this year, renovating the house would cost about $250,000. In response to a question from the Westside Pioneer, he estimated that the pavilion will wind up costing about half that.

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