Proposed improvements along the #SouthPlatte in Englewood

From the Englewood Herald (Tom Munds):

“The open house tonight was held to let people know about the proposed river improvements,” said Jerrell Black, parks and recreation director. “We invited representatives of all the businesses adjacent to the river along the area so they will see the river improvements that are planned.”

He said the proposal is made possible by a partnership of the cities of Englewood, Littleton and Sheridan, the Army Corp of Engineers, South Suburban Parks and Recreation District and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.

John Kent’s family owns Oxford Recycling, located on Oxford Avenue adjacent to the west bank of the river.

He said he attended the session because he wanted to see what improvements were planned along the river near his business.

“I think these are great plans,” he said. “I particularly like the plan to add an additional bike path on the east side of the river. I walk and ride a bike on the bike path on the west side of the river, and it gets quite busy.”

Kent said the family-owned business allowed developers to use some of the company property to build the Mary Carter Greenway Bike Path, which runs along the west bank of the river from Chatfield Reservoir to downtown Denver.

“The land south of Oxford sloped to the river and we didn’t use it, so we leased it to South Suburban for $10 a year for 10 years and is automatically renewable,” he said. “We also worked with the officials on the 10,000 trees project. Planting those trees improved the whole area.”

Laura Kroeger, project manager for Urban Drainage, said River Run is part of the proposed project, involving major work to revitalize a seven-mile stretch of the South Platte River from the southern border of Littleton to the northern border of Englewood.

One aspect of the proposal is to extend the pedestrian-bike path on the east bank of the river and to create a trailhead just north of Oxford Avenue. The new east-side trail would lead into the trailhead that would be adjacent to the Broken Tee golf course. Improvements would include expanded parking, a 125-seat pavilion and a playground.

Kroeger said the Army Corp of Engineers has given permission to soften the banks of the river in that area by planting landscaping and create a handicapped-accessible path leading down from the trailhead to the river amenities.

“The plan is to start work in the fall of 2015 and complete the improvements by the spring of 2017,” she said. “Of course, everything depends on obtaining the financing for the project, and that is a major challenge.”

The entire project is an expensive proposal, with a price tag of about $12 million. The funding got help when Arapahoe County pledged $5 million toward the project.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

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