Residents express concern about trails expansion, safety
Park planned for Farmington Museum area
FARMINGTON — Farmington officials are working to extend the city's river trails system from the Bisti Highway to near Piñon Hills Boulevard, but not all residents are happy with the plans.
But everyone at a meeting on the issue Wednesday had kinder words for plans to build a new park near the Farmington Museum featuring paths, plazas, a riverfront boardwalk and a play area for the kids.
One attendee said she is concerned about safety if river trails are expanded.
“I feel like we’re being thrown under the bus for tourism and recreation,” Joan Chandler said during a community input meeting Wednesday morning at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter. Chandler and her husband live near the proposed end of the trails expansion project on Railroad Street.
Chandler mentioned people using the trails and increased vehicular traffic to access the trails as reasons for her concern.
Residents said there should be more of a police presence on the trails.
Farmington is working on connecting the Among the Waters Trail in the western part of town with the Boyd Park area. That would provide a trails connection through Animas Park. The Animas Park trails end near the animal shelter near Browning Parkway.
Plans presented Wednesday call for extending the trail beneath the Browning Parkway bridge and farther east. A parking area would be built on Herrera Road.
Farmington also is working to acquire right of way that would allow the city to build an access point to the trails system near the intersection of Railroad and Largo streets.
Decades of work behind trails expansion
Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative Director Cory Styron described the project as “for some of the community, a 35-year dream coming into fruition.”
Styron was referring to efforts by nonprofit groups and city officials to acquire land and build trails along the river. The segments Farmington is planning on building would connect the trails system from the west side to the east side of the city.
Styron said one of Farmington’s long-term goals is to connect the Animas Valley Mall with the trails system using Largo Street. Styron said the access point would not include a parking lot, so trail users would be expected to park at the mall.
Some residents expressed concerns that the access point would lead to people parking along streets.
Eventually, the city hopes to build a bridge across the Animas River that would allow it to connect the trail to an existing trailhead off of County Road 3000.
Construction on the trails expansion is scheduled to begin in May 2019.
Park planned at museum
In addition to expanding the trail, the city is planning to build a park at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park that could include boardwalks along the river within the flood plain. It could also include play structures for children and a multi-use plaza where vendors could set up booths for the Farmington Growers Market, or where food trucks could park.
Members of the public viewed three conceptual designs for the park during the meeting at the animal shelter. Everyone who attended the meeting voiced support for the idea of having a park beside the museum. Many said it was important for vendors to have easy access to places to sell products.
The first design features a circular central plaza while the second design has a flowing design to mirror the Animas River. The third design features nodes on the trail similar to what is seen in Animas and Berg parks, where the trail opens into larger plazas at several points. The third design also includes a long, covered pathway.
All three designs provide viewing locations for the Animas River. The designs also include sculptures, including a potential “selfie” sculpture that people could take pictures in front of.
An online survey will be launched this month for residents to provide additional input about the proposed park.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.