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City of Loveland receives $460,000 in grant funding to develop trails at Prairie Ridge Natural Area

Post Date:03/19/2018 8:50 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 3/19/2018
Contact:  
Kelly Smith, Park Planner, City of Loveland Parks & Recreation 970.962.2478 kelly.smith@cityofloveland.org

460k awarded to City of LovelandLOVELAND, CO  -  Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) awarded a $260,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation grant to the City of Loveland for trail building at Prairie Ridge Natural Area. The project was one of 14 selected for funding from a pool of 59, with funding requested totaling more than triple what was available.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife awarded an additional $200,000 in grant funding to the project to help expand city recreational opportunities. The project includes a 1.5-mile hiking trail, a one-mile ADA-accessible trail, a parking lot, restrooms and signage.

Prairie Ridge Natural Area is a 785-acre open space that features hogbacks, prairies and wetlands, and the new trail system will help residents and visitors connect with these environments while hiking, wildlife viewing, trail running and mountain biking. The natural area is the largest city-managed open space in Loveland, and it has been inaccessible to the public since its purchase 17 years ago.

During public outreach efforts conducted for Loveland’s 2014 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, residents prioritized the development of more trails and bike paths, followed by increased access to open lands and natural areas. When surveyed during the public outreach process for this project, 98 percent of respondents said they would use the new trail system if constructed.

One goal of the project is to create an inclusive outdoor recreation experience in a landscape typically inaccessible to many. The 1.5-mile natural-surfaced and one-mile ADA-accessible trails will improve access to the outdoors for area residents with disabilities and those who require accommodations to recreate outdoors. Both trails are designed for families with young children, the elderly and those who are new to the outdoors.

Another goal is to better engage at-risk youth in the outdoors. The local Boys and Girls Club’s outdoor recreation program will utilize the new trails, and the project will enable the city’s own environmental education program to expand to Prairie Ridge. In addition, local schools will have new opportunities within the natural area for field trips, cross-country running practice and other activities.

Construction will begin in summer 2019 with a grand opening slated for December of that year.

Prairie-Ridge_Trail-Concept

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For more information about the City of Loveland Parks & Recreation Department, please visit cityofloveland.org/departments/parks-recreation

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