High Plains Trail connection moves forward

Project will connect north Parker to Aurora, span three cities

Posted 12/18/18

A trail connection project nearly 20 years in the making finally has its initial funding. The High Plains Trail connection is a project to connect the existing trail along E-470, to Kings Point in …

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High Plains Trail connection moves forward

Project will connect north Parker to Aurora, span three cities

Posted

A trail connection project nearly 20 years in the making finally has its initial funding.

The High Plains Trail connection is a project to connect the existing trail along E-470, to Kings Point in Aurora. Parker Town Council passed Ordinance No. 5.82 at its Dec. 3 meeting, which approves the first phase of an intergovernmental agreement between Arapahoe County and the Town of Parker. The agreement is a “phased” or “rolling” IGA, according to Dennis Trapp, of the Parker Parks and Recreation Department, meaning it will be amended within the next year or two to address the design and construction of the trail.

This phase of the IGA addresses funding for the conceptual design and 30 percent engineering design for segments 1, 2 and 4. Segment 3 will be the responsibility of Kings Point developers.

“It is a critical regional trail connection,” Trapp said.

The cost for this portion is about $200,000, which will be shared evenly between Parker and Arapahoe County. As the project continues, Douglas County and the City of Aurora will be brought in as part of the IGA to share additional funding for design, construction and long-term maintenance.

Parker Parks and Recreation will be seeking a Great Outdoors Colorado funding grant next year of about $2 million. The department has already secured nearly $500,000 from the E-470 authority and $2 million in funding from the Denver Regional Council of Governments' Transportation Improvement Program (DRCOG TIP).

DRCOG TIP identifies all current federally funded transportation projects to be completed in the Denver region over a four-year period, according to the organization's website, www.drcog.org. Councilmember John Diak said this project was the highest-rated trail DRCOG TIP project.

Councilmember John Diak touted the project for its intergovernmental connection. The connection will eventually involve eight government agencies.

“This is the United Nations of trail projects,” Diak said. The IGA was “the final testament to this connection, and I can only hope it gets done quick."

Councilmember Josh Martin recounted working on the project in 2013 and said then it seemed like a “pie in the sky idea.” Trapp responded, reminiscing that this was one of the first projects that came across his desk in 1998, that this was a 20-year odyssey.

“It's a credit to everybody sticking with this because these connections are so important to our trail networks,” Martin said.

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