The public is invited to an open house and unveiling of the master plan for the proposed sports and outdoor education facility at Paonia Junior-Senior High School, from noon to 2 p.m., Friday, July 19, at the school. The event will feature a barbecue lunch and a walk-through of the site, which includes 11 acres of land adjacent to the North Fork River.
The facility's citizens' planning committee recently kicked off the Flight of the Eagle Project, a fundraising effort to raise matching grant funds through the sale of engraved bricks to be placed along the project's Flight of the Eagle Walkway. For details, contact Cindy Swartzendruber at 527-6199.
Swartzendruber spoke at the June 25 Paonia Town Council about the progress of the project. She also came to secure permission to clean up and improve an area by the river south of the school which is owned by the Town of Paonia and not the school district. The town's property covers 90 feet back from the river. The cleanup of trash and downed wood would take place in July and August. The project committee has spoken with The Conservation Center to extend removal of Russian olive and other invasive species in the area as well.
The group wants to clean up the area and put in a trail in cooperation with The Conservation Center and the North Fork Pool, Park and Recreation District.
"What we've been talking to them about is hooking together the River Park trail into the trail at Paonia High School. We walked it off. They would bring their cemented trail south of the museum to that intersection," Swartzendruber said.
When the trail is completed, people could come from the Paonia River Park Trail, cross Grand Avenue, use the pedestrian bridge over the river, and then access the trail at the school which would connect with another trail in the proposed Riverbank Neighborhood subdivision. The trail will be shown in the final plans on July 19. If the Riverbank Neighborhood subdivision is not constructed, the trail will still be built.
The organizations believe this is the safest way to extend the current trail to the future trails.
The facility's citizens' planning committee is writing and applying for the first capital construction grant. The first work to be done will be to move a lot of dirt for the trail.
Eric Hughes and his Conservation Corps will come in July and August and begin the cleanup.
Trustee Eric Goold noted that the "project is a lot further along than I thought."
That has been made possible, Swartzendruber said, because of all the volunteers. "The first section by the river needs more volunteers than capital funds. The people wanting us to move forward can make this area a reality with very little money."
She continued, "We are applying for our first grant for capital construction money in August. So we are hoping to strike while the iron is hot."
They started raising matching funds for the anticipated grant on July 4. They had a float in the Cherry Days parade and a booth at Paonia Town Park. They are selling memorial bricks for the Flight of the Eagle Walkway which will go around the facilities.
Swartzendruber pointed out other features of the plan.
There will be ADA access to the trail.
The lower trail will be open to the public all the time.
Plans provide for exercise kiosks and outdoor classrooms.
They are speaking with the Division of Wildlife about eight-foot-high elk fencing on two sides of the complex.
There will be an emergency access from Highway 133.
Mayor Neal Schwieterman said he was surprised to learn the town owned property by the river adjacent to Paonia High School. He noted "things were all changed in the '80s after the flood."
Attorney Jim Briscoe advised the council to have the council state the motion so the town is free from any liability during the clean up.
Amber Kleinman moved to allow the Paonia Jr.-Sr. High's Facilities Improvement Initiative to clean up and improve the town property. The town is indemnified by the applicant. This will be at the applicant's own risk if there is any accident or injury. Swartzendruber clarified that the town would only be indemnified during the cleanup process. The motion passed.blog comments powered by Disqus