Construction of the Animas River Trail north of 32nd Street and the Oxbow Park river put-in is expected to wrap up in June 2020 after some delays this year.
Durango Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz said about half of the 1-mile trail extension between Animas City Park and Oxbow Park has been poured in concrete and the entire trail is roughed in.
“We have made really great progress on the trail,” she said.
The trail extension is expected to cost $5.8 million, in part, because the city had to build extensive retaining walls and relocate utility lines. The city is also paying to install stairs in parts of the retaining wall to provide access for neighbors, replace fencing for neighbors and replace vegetation along the new trail corridor, she said.
“It was definitely an expensive mile. There’s no question,” Metz said.
At Oxbow Park, along Animas View Drive, the city has poured the concrete boat ramp, installed restrooms and stabilized the river bank, she said. Oxbow Park construction is expected to total $1.8 million.
Both projects are on budget despite unforeseen problems with sewer lines. One sewer line in the Oxbow Park parking lot had to be relocated, Metz said.
In coming weeks, the city will cease construction for the winter but may do some work as the weather allows, she said.
As construction has progressed, the city has noticed excitement build within the community as residents start to walk it, even though it remains closed, Metz said.
Despite the excitement, some residents living near the trail extension are frustrated with the pace of construction and associated mud along Silverton Street.
Resident Tim Wolf said he expected the trail to be finished by now.
“It’s just been a mess,” Wolf said.
Another nearby resident, Maya Kane, said living with the construction has been challenging.
“Our driveway, it’s just a mud pit,” she said.
She’s also concerned a large concrete retaining wall and steel fencing are not in line with the intent of the trail to provide access to nature.
“There is nothing about that that says linear greenway,” she said.
Metz said before the city ceases construction for the winter, it plans to lay recycled asphalt millings along Silverton Street to stabilize the road. As part of the trail project, the city also plans to pave Silverton Street, which has always been dirt, she said.
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board President Rich Hoehlein said the board recently toured the construction and is so far pleased with the results.
“I and I think the rest of our board thought it was making good progress and looked like it was going to be a real plus to get people up to Oxbow,” he said.
While the cost of the trail is high, he said it is not out of line with what he has observed in his time on the board.
“It’s not that it’s poor planning, not that people are being extravagant,” Hoehlein said. “It’s literally the always-increasing cost of materials.”