DEL NORTE- Now that water levels in the Rio are down to seasonal levels, construction on the new Riverwalk is well underway. The new addition to the park located north of Del Norte will allow public access to the river for visitors and residents.
The project has been in the planning stage for well over two years and work began in the spring of 2018. In a previous interview, project coordinator Marty Asplin stated, “We want to put people back in touch with the river. We have this wonderful attribute in Del Norte, the Rio Grande River and we need to be using it.”
In a meeting of the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) organization held in August of this year, attendees learned about what it took to get the project off the ground. The project was funded through private donations and several grants, one of which was a game changer early on in the project when Great Outdoors Colorado awarded the project $350,000. Other grants that helped fund the project included $190,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, $35,000 from the Laura Jane Musser Fund, $62,500 from the SLV Conservation Connection Initiative, $20,000 from Rio Grande County, $5,000 from Del Norte Bank, $10,000 from private donations and several in-kind donations from the Town of Del Norte gives the project $750,000 in funds to complete the Riverwalk construction.
The Rio Grande Headwater Restoration Project (RGHRP) worked through the fall and winter of 2018/2019 to complete the first stage of the project which was the boat ramp and access road. The entire project will include a “play wave,” public access to the river, a picnic area and parking lot. Work will resume in November when water levels are at their season lows.
In a statement provided by RGHRP, the group highlighted coming construction phases and what they need from the community while construction takes place, “After summer’s high water, the Rio Grande has dropped down to base flows and it’s time to continue construction on the Del Norte Riverfront Project. In September, project partners solicited bids and selected Robins Construction as the contractor to build a new grouted rock “play wave,” tiered rock river access, fish habitat enhancements and riparian habitat restoration. During construction, the new boat ramp park will be closed to vehicles and foot traffic. Feel free to watch the construction progress from the fishing dock and walking trails off of the town park on the south side of the Rio Grande. Construction is exciting, but please observe from a safe distance.”
On Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. there will be a fundraising event so be sure to save the date for the third annual Rio Reels Film Festival. The event will feature inspiring films and speakers, fun auction items and door prizes, and delicious food and drinks. In addition, all funds raised will directly support the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project’s current projects which includes the Del Norte Riverfront Project. The event will take place at McDaniel Hall on the Adams State University campus. For tickets and more information, visit: riograndeheadwaters.org/rio-reels.