The city of Durango never used the threat of condemnation while planning the northern extension of the Animas River Trail as alleged by a resident, Durango’s Parks and Recreation director told a city advisory board Monday.
The city purchased the right to build the trail on right of way owned by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and the planned construction did not require condemnation or use of eminent domain, said Cathy Metz, Parks and Recreation director. The trail is entirely contained within the right of way, she said, during a Natural Land Preservation Advisory Board meeting.
“We have never threatened condemnation nor exercised any action toward condemnation,” she said.
Durangoan Tim Wolf notified Great Outdoors Colorado of what he perceived as a threat of condemnation directed toward property owners along the proposed river trail extension.
GOCO, an agency that grants Colorado Lottery funds to public parks and open-space projects, granted $1.4 million to the river trail extension project. The trail extension from Animas City Park to Oxbow Park, about 4,600 linear feet, is expected to cost $5.9 million, excluding a bridge over the Animas River.
Wolf said a threat of condemnation is contained in a contract between the city and the D&SNG that, in part, grants the city use of the railroad easement for the trail.
After receiving information from Wolf, GOCO asked the city to provide clarification if the condemnation, or threat of condemnation, existed as the Parks and Recreation Department planned and implemented the project.
GOCO does not award grants when the threat of condemnation exists.
City attorney Dirk Nelson provided GOCO with written information in response to the agency’s request in February, Metz said.
Wolf has also challenged construction of the trail in court on the same grounds that he made in his complaint to GOCO and lost, she said.