The wait is finally over.
The Evergreen Lake North Trail is open, a project whose detour was completed in fewer than 120 days, under the $5.4 million budget and with stakeholders won many levels joining together to make the project happen.
The Evergreen Park & Recreation District, which spearheaded the effort to create the new two-tiered trail, hosted a ribbon cutting and celebration on Oct. 24 to commemorate the occasion that has been seven years in the making.
“This has been a labor of love,” Cory Vander Veen, the rec district’s executive director, told nearly 75 people who attended the ribbon cutting at the trail. “This has been much needed for years. It will improve and connect Evergreen. It’s so exciting to have it completed.”
Liz Cohen, the rec district’s grants and strategy manager, thanked the many stakeholders who had a hand in building and funding the project. The trails wouldn’t have been constructed without the cooperation among all entities and businesses who supported the project in various ways, she noted.
Representatives from many of the organizations attended the ribbon cutting.
“I’m proud but not gloating,” Cohen said. “All of your contributions – your efforts, your expertise and your money — made it possible for us to celebrate this success.”
She noted the history of the area:
- One hundred years ago, the City of Denver bought the land that became Dedisse Park and Evergreen Lake, and Denver was a project partner through the entire process.
- Thirty-five years ago, Evergreen-based ESCO Construction built the first trail along Evergreen Lake. The company was awarded the contract to build the new trail, and “we couldn’t have been more pleased to have ESCO build this,” Cohen said.
- Ten years ago, Jefferson County with the help of other organizations created the Evergreen Trails Master Plan.
- Seven years ago, planning for the new trail started in earnest when the trail collapsed.
Eric Clark, the fourth generation to be part of ESCO Construction, said working on the trail was refreshing as ESCO witnessed the teamwork on the project, something that doesn’t happen often in the construction industry.
“We are thankful we could work in our backyard,” Clark said.
Jana Spiker, a resident engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation, said the new trail, which is a raised concrete walkway with curb and gutter, will provide a safer, better user experience.
“I’m really proud of the work we have done,” Spiker said. “We look forward to using the trail for years to come.”
Jason Stawski, the assistant general manager for the Evergreen Metro District, said while the trail project was important for Evergreen, it was just as important to the district, which supplies water to homes in Evergreen and Kittredge. An essential water line runs under the trail, so it was important that the line could continue to operate.
The trail represents the power of community and partnerships, Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper told the group, adding, “This project brings a gift to Evergreen and to Jefferson County.”