Montrose, CO — The City of Montrose, in partnership with the Montrose Recreation District, MRD, was recently honored by the Colorado Lottery for the completion of the Connecting the People to Their Parks and Recreation “Connect Trail” project that traverses the heart of the city.
The Colorado Lottery Starburst Awards recognize excellence in the use of lottery funds for community and conservation projects. The city received a 2021 Startburst Award in recognition of its collaboration with MRD to complete the trail. The Connect Trail opened to the public in January 2020 and has seen heavy use already due to the trail's purpose to connect the northern end of the city to MRD recreational facilities, trails, and Community Recreation Center.
The trail extends the existing Uncompahgre River Trail by 2.25 miles, including 1.5 miles to the north and .75 miles to the south. The project aligns with the GOCO Connect Initiative’s goal of enhancing connectivity and accessibility in Colorado communities.
"A $4,280,090 project, the Connecting the People to Their Parks and Recreation Trail is a monumental project for the City of Montrose, the Montrose Recreation District, and the surrounding region," the Colorado Lottery said in a news release.
The Connect Trail project was funded in part with $2 million from the Colorado Lottery through a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant. The Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) also provided $150,000 of the project. The completion of this project fulfills a vision for providing Montrose residents with safe pedestrian and bicycle access to the vast majority of recreational amenities in the city.
"The work and efforts of the community, Recreation District, and the city have provided our residents and visitors with an exceptional array of recreational activities and outdoors options for the health, wellness, entertainment, and pleasure of all age groups in Montrose," Montrose Mayor Doug Glaspell said. "It is always impressive to see the number of people utilizing these amenities and the variety of age groups enjoying them throughout the year."
By utilizing existing bridges, the city constructed two underpasses that enable pedestrians and bicyclists to safely and comfortably cross busy roads. The new trail provides a continuous path, running north to south through the community, that links the city and MRD parks, trails, and recreational assets.
“The Montrose Recreation District is thrilled to be granted this award of excellence in partnership with the City of Montrose. The Connect Trail truly is one of many important steps building upon the sustainable success that makes our community a gem in Colorado. This project is indicative of the connectivity that we’re all about in Montrose," said Mari Steinbach, Executive Director of the MRD. "It weaves together connecting and creating: connecting with partners to make big things happen for and with the entire community, and creating connections that improve the community’s access to physical, emotional, social, and economic achievement to enhance the overall livability of our people and places. We’re honored and grateful to the Colorado Lottery for helping us to fund and recognize this trail and all the good that it will continue to bear well into the future.”
More than $10.5 million in lottery funds are represented in 11 winning projects distributed statewide through grants via Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Conservation Trust Fund (CTF), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST).
"Conservation is a key pillar for the lottery. It includes not only conserving open space, but also upgrading recreational spaces, creating new places for Coloradans to play, and supporting ecosystems and wildlife,” said Tom Seaver, director of the Colorado Lottery. “This year's Starburst Award winners aptly reflect the wide-ranging projects that our proceeds support. With now $3.6 billion going to our proceeds beneficiaries, we continue to look for new ways to grow revenue responsibly to protect more of Colorado’s great outdoors."
Already in 2021, Colorado Lottery proceeds have surpassed $3.6 billion. Submissions lottery proceeds include programs and projects such as parks, playgrounds, outdoor recreation facilities, land conservation, trail enhancement, open space acquisition, wildlife natural resource preservation, and public school improvements. About Colorado Lottery: Since 1983, the Colorado Lottery has returned more than $3.6 billion to outdoor projects and schools through Great Outdoors Colorado, the Conservation Trust Fund, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Building Excellent Schools Today. Proceeds from sales of Colorado Lottery games – Scratch, Powerball, Mega Millions, Colorado Lotto+, Lucky for Life, Cash 5, and Pick 3 – enhance, protect, improve parks, trails, and open space in Colorado. For more information, visit coloradolottery.com.