Union Pacific denies sale of property in Fraser to trails group | SkyHiNews.com

Union Pacific denies sale of property in Fraser to trails group

Tonya Bina
Fraser, Colorado

An effort to create a safe pedestrian town-to-park route for children and adults who use the Fraser Ballfields hit a major snag.

Grand County and trail advocates learned recently that the Union Pacific Railroad opted not to sell a 30-by-1,000 foot stretch of Union Pacific right-of-way to the Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails.

The decision was outlined in a letter to Partnership for Trails Project Coordinator Andy Miller.

Until another option can be found and a formal trail contructed, Miller worries that it is just a matter of time before something tragic happens. Children walking to the ballfields often follow or cross the train tracks or walk along the highway, he said.

“We’re trying to do the right thing before we have an accident,” Miller said.

Partnership For Trails initially explored a trail along the Colorado Department of Transportation right-of-way, which ran up against dead ends.

The railroad was the only hope for a trail that would link the Granby to Fraser trail to downtown Fraser, Miller said. The trail would direct pedestrians to a safer, gated railroad crossing at County Road 5 to the ballfields.

Fraser, Grand County, the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District and Headwaters Trails Alliance have thrown in support for the potential trail. A Great Outdoors Colorado grant to build the trail with lottery funds was sought, but was recently denied.

Even so, “everything was falling together nicely for the trail,” Miller said. “The railroad had been working with us for the last six months.”

Efforts to reach a Union Pacific spokesperson were unsuccessful. The letter from Union Pacific Senior Manager of Real Estate Gregg Larsen denying the sale cites “safety concerns” as a primary reason “based on uncertainty of future rail and vehicular congestion along the railroad.”

“It’s more unsafe to have kids on the tracks rather than behind the tracks,” Miller said.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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