SILVERTHORNE - Members of Silverthorne Town Council, the Economic Development Advisory Committee and a large group of community members gathered Wednesday to celebrate a pair of ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
River's Edge Trail, located directly north of the Wildernest and Highway 9 intersection, was recently completed allowing access to the river and town core.
"I designed this keeping in mind the goals that the town had for the project: To open the view and announce the river to the town," said Megan Testin, design manager for Neils Lunceford, who led the landscaping and design team. "I think this area is going to offer a great pedestrian experience."
Immediately following that ceremony, a ribbon cutting took place at Red Buffalo Coffee and Tea to celebrate the completion of its riverside patio project, made possible by grants from Silverthorne's EDAC.
The concept of an "entrance park" was developed by EDAC as a way to draw people to the town center, highlight the Blue River and increase pedestrian circulation in Silverthorne's town core.
The area identified for this opportunity was the riverbank east of Hwy. 9, just north of the Wildernest intersection. Wetland mapping, landscape design, art location planning and permitting were all completed this year and construction began in September for a fall completion.
"We've accomplished a variety of goals with this project, including increasing pedestrian safety, providing access to the Blue River, and it's a great location for public art, which has been incorporated into the site plan," said Jack Hickey, a member of EDAC.
The new trail is grade-separated with a landscape buffer and brings a higher level of safety and a more pleasant experience for pedestrians.
The design of the trail will accommodate the town's anticipated creation of a public art display along the river.
Red Buffalo was one of six recipients of a Silverthorne economic development grant offered as part of a new town business grant program created by the committee.
"It was a very competitive process," said Eddie O'Brien, chair of EDAC. "We had over 20 applications for the EDAC grant program and Red Buffalo Coffee really stood out from the very beginning."
In April, the town solicited applications from businesses proposing to install site improvements, such as facade and architectural upgrades.
Applications were awarded to businesses proposing capital investments that would bring new jobs or other economic development benefits to the community.
"This project took an underutilized space behind the Town Center and created a great riverside and trailside patio for Red Buffalo's customers, many of whom are Blue River Trail users," O'Brien said. "This project celebrates the Blue River, which is Silverthorne's greatest natural asset, and it also celebrates public-private partnerships."
Red Buffalo's riverside patio was awarded a site improvement grant as one of the six projects selected for grant funding in 2012.
"When Erin Young opened the Red Buffalo Coffee Shop in the Town Center several years ago, her shop brought a new level of vibrancy and foot traffic to the Town Center, and this patio project now brings the riverside views and Blue River Trail into the mix," said Silverthorne Mayor Dave Koop. "It's really a great place to sit and enjoy the Blue River."