: Jane Taylor, daughter of Janis and Rod Taylor, cuts a ribbon on the Hardwick Bridge officially opening the Hardwick Bridge Trail south of Glenwood Springs.

Path connecting Riverview School to the community open

June 17, 2022

A trail project linking the Riverview School and its surrounding neighborhoods south of Glenwood Springs is now officially open following four years of collaborate efforts. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday morning to highlight the completion of the Hardwick Bridge Trail, which spans from the Ironbridge and Westbank neighborhoods up to the Rio Grande Trail, and over to Riverview, creating a seamless connection.

Garfield County teamed up with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), Roaring Fork Schools, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Ironbridge Homeowners Association, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and local neighbors to bring the Colorado Safe Routes to School (SRTS) trail project to fruition.

Dozens of community members, stakeholders, and elected officials met at the Hardwick Bridge to officially open the trail. The path creates a safe way for students to cross county roads 109 and 154 and connect to the Rio Grande Trail, which reaches the school.

“When Janis Taylor came to the Board of County Commissioners and said, ‘I live a mile away and my daughter can’t walk or bike to Riverview,’ it rang a bell with the commissioners and the school district,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.

He added that there were many entities and individuals involved in bringing the project to life, including Gould Construction, Doug and Julie Pratt with the Land Studio, Brian and Amanda Shard, Sopris Engineering, Blue Heron Development, RFTA Trails and Corridor Manager Brett Meredith and CEO Dan Blankenship, the county’s Road and Bridge Department and Deputy County Manager Fred Jarman, and Jeff Gatlin, Roaring Fork Schools COO, among others.

“There was a big team that worked on this, and it was Jeff Gatlin who kept this all together and moving,” Jankovsky said.

“We are extremely excited to have a safe route to the Riverview School,” said Gatlin, who managed this project for the school district. “Students will now be able to safely walk or bike to school while remaining separate from vehicular traffic.”

Garfield County provided $1.3 million in funding and in-kind work the road and bridge department, which built the 1,500-foot section of the trail in the RFTA right-of-way connecting County Road 154 to the existing Rio Grande Trail, as well as driveway crossing improvements. The school district attained Safe Routes to School, Federal Mineral Lease District – FMLD, and CDOT Transportation Alternative Program grants for the project, and contributed more than $300,000. The total of all grant funding for this project was approximately $1.6 million.

“I’m so grateful for our democracy and our community, where I could attend a county commissioner meeting with my young daughter and plead our case, and that we have such wonderful county commissioners who listened and related to me,” said Janis Taylor. “They took up that torch to provide our children and community a safe way to be outside and ride their bikes. It’s such a beautiful trail.”

Jarman said repurposing the historic Hardwick Bridge was an important centerpiece of the project. He added that it’s believed the bridge was originally built in 1890, when county commissioners relocated the Cooper Avenue Bridge south to create a river passage. It was then placed on Hardwick family ranch and was rebuilt in 1923.

“This project had great vision and was meant to be completed exactly the way it was,” Jarman said. “It does my heart good to see we have put this 100-year-old bridge back into commission and it will probably last another 100 years. It was a tremendous effort, and it was the ‘we’ that got this done and you are all part of it.”

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