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Legacy Loop is funded, YMCA will manage the Senior Center 

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Good news for local trails

Great Outdoors Colorado has announced a $1 million grant to help complete a 9.5-mile trail loop in the downtown area.

Known as the "Legacy Loop" — and previously as "the emerald necklace" — the trail has been a dream of city planners for over a century. Seriously. Gen. William Jackson Palmer first mentioned the loop in 1871. In 1912, Charles Mulford Robinson put forth the idea in a vision for the city.

The GOCO grant, which is funded with money from the Colorado Lottery, will be combined with money from the Greenway Fund; the Trails, Open Space and Parks tax; and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. The total cost of the project is more than $3 million, although additional funds will also be used to purchase property in the Rock Island Trail corridor.

The loop needs several miles of new connecting trails, plus "the addition of underpasses, pedestrian bridges and other safe trail crossings," according to GOCO.

The project will be completed over the next three years. (See a map at greenwayfund.org/legacy-loop.html.)

Meanwhile, El Paso County has announced that it is reopening certain trails and recreation areas that were damaged by heavy rains and flooding. Among the openings: Rainbow Falls Recreation Area, Stratmoor Valley Trailhead and playground, Rock Island Trail (though caution is urged near Judge Orr Road), and the south parking lot and most of the north parking lot at Section 16.

Other trails and areas remain closed including: Fountain Creek Regional Trail, Hanson Trailhead (and the bridge over the creek), Fishers Canyon area (next to Maxwell Street), the trail at Willow Springs Ponds (though the area is open to fishing), and the trail south of Carson Street Bridge and west of Ceresa Park.

YMCA will run Senior Center

The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region will take over operation of the Colorado Springs Senior Center on Sept. 1.

The Senior Center, located at 1514 N. Hancock Ave., offers meal programs and exercise classes, and provides a great social outlet for older adults, many of whom are very low-income. But it doesn't make money.

During the recession, the Senior Center faced closure by the cash-strapped city, but was saved when the Colorado Springs Housing Authority took it over in 2011. But the Housing Authority decided to give the center back to the city this year, prompting a search for a contractor that would be willing to run it. The YMCA's bid was the only one received.

"Our plan is to not only make sure that seniors continue to enjoy the programs and services that they already love, but to improve and grow upon them so that seniors can further build a healthy spirit, mind and body," Boyd Williams, YMCA President and CEO, stated in a press release.

The YMCA previously contracted to run the city pools when they too faced closure. Current leaders and employees of the Senior Center will continue in their roles.

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