Council approves Creek Walk Trail construction contract

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I ride a bike and think concrete is more comfortable. — John Graham

By William J. Dagendesh

At its Feb. 21 meeting, Manitou Springs City Council voted unanimously to approve Phase 3 of the Creek Walk Trail construction contract.

This is part of the Creek Walk Trail Master Plan, connecting Schryver Park to the east and Mayfair Avenue to the west. The project will build a 10-foot wide concrete multi-use trail along the existing alignment and will make a few minor grade and slope improvements to help with functionality.

On Feb. 9, the city and independent contractor Greatland Concrete & Landscaping Inc. reached an agreement for general services (federal funds).

City engineer Dole Grebenik gave a trail surface update and discussed the landscape pavers to be used because of their porous capability, aesthetics, texture and color options. Concrete pavement is cost-effective and low-maintenance, and offers a consistent surface, whereas landscape pavers are twice as expensive as concrete.

“They are permeable, very attractive and ADA [American with Disabilities Act] compliant. Some of the downsides, the cons, is they are expensive, about twice as expensive once installed as a concrete walkway, and can be bumpy and uneven for small wheels, strollers and skateboards,” Grebenik said.

“Maintenance can be intensive as they settle and shift. It’s hard to make those perfectly level, and over time, if these permeable surfaces are near an area that has an opportunity for surface for runoff, which the Creek Walk Trail does, the silt and sand will fill in the joints and cracks and reduce the permeability.”

One product, TRUEGRID, is regarded as the greenest commercial pavement. It’s comprised of 100 percent recycled plastic, with a sub-base drainage structure formed from recycled concrete.

TRUEGRID is permeable and offers color options by selecting different aggregate and is ADA compliant. TRUEGRID manufactures plastic permeable pavers for gravel and grass paving, commercial paving and stormwater management applications. Also, it offers straightforward installation and is comparable in price to concrete.

“We contacted the company and they sent us a free sample. Basically, it’s a plastic sheet of material that locks in place, is easy to build and gets installed fast,” Grebenik said.

“Then, you install uniformly brushed aggregate over this material, so the aggregate is the wear surface and it’s structurally sound so the rock doesn’t shift. The benefit of this is that it is permeable. It allows a significant amount of water through and does not create runoff.”

Grebenik told councilors they could choose the color of the finished surface. TRUEGRID is black, he said, but the final color depends on the rock chosen. The material is ADA complaint, is a straightforward installation and that installation is similar in price to concrete, he said.

“The downside is that it can be bumpy and uneven for small wheels, so strollers, scooters, skateboards and small-wheeled and hard-wheeled things will have a very bumpy, rough uneven experience on this. Large rubber wheels like cars and bicycles will do fine, but small, harder wheels will feel the vibrations,” Grebenik said.

“Also, over time, grit, sand, silt from adjacent areas will wash onto this and will slowly, over time, fill in the areas of the aggregate. Depending on the size of the aggregate used, it could get muddy.

“And when you plow snow, you’re supposed to keep the plow blade about a half inch above the rock. … the air is able to circulate through the rock and allows the ice to drain, so you get a surface that melts faster than [it would on] concrete.”

Councilor Judith Chandler, who said she is familiar with TRUEGRID, asked, “I understand this product lasts up to 60 years, is that correct?”

Grebenik said it lasts 35 to 60 years.

Councilor John Shada said he was hesitant to experiment with the material.

“It seems to me, from the continuity of the trail, that we ought to use the same color and material that we already have back there,” Shada said.

Councilors Chandler and Natalie Johnson agreed and opted for concrete. Councilor Julie Wolfe said the photos on the TRUEGRID website are more aesthetically pleasing compared to those presented at the meeting, and recommend that residents visit the website for a better product description.

Mayor John Graham said he has trekked the Creek Walk about four times in the past two weeks and was surprised to see so many people pushing strollers.

“That tells me concrete is a better surface for strollers. I ride a bike and think concrete is more comfortable. If I was in a wheelchair, and I suppose that day is going to come, I would like to have a hard concrete surface,” Graham said.

In the end, Council chose concrete as the material to be used.

Grebenik said that, once signed, the contract will be sent to the Colorado Department of Transportation for concurrence, after which they and the city would issue notices to begin construction.

“I see that happening in about three weeks … starting this project in late March,” he said.

Also during the meeting, Council voted unanimously to approve Candace Craig as an alternate member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

In her Feb. 12 letter of recommendation, PARAB Chair Danu Fatt said Craig would be a great addition to the board, advocating for parks and the pool and fitness center.

“It is wonderful that she has stepped up to become more involved in helping to keep Manitou the beautiful place we live in,” Fatt wrote.

Craig holds a master’s in English literature, a master’s in education curriculum and instruction, and a bachelor’s in English literature from Cleveland State University, and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Liberty University.

“I am a former school teacher, have taught since 1991 all ages all the way up to college, mostly English. Currently, I am a freelance editor, and I have tutored and home schooled so I have some extra time,” Craig said.

“I have always wanted to get involved in civic matters, so now seems like a good time. The facilities I use the most are recreational, so I would like to be an alternate for PARAB and learn what they do and help out.”

The next work session is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.

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