PALMER LAKE — A pedestrian bridge in Palmer Lake, nearly a decade in the making, is finally going to be put in place Tuesday morning.
It's part of a bigger initiative to restore the lake and its surrounding area by making it safer and more accessible to everyone.
If not for this pedestrian bridge, folks wanting to get close to the lake would've been forced to cross the railroad tracks that run parallel to Highway 105.
But at 7 a.m. Tuesday, all that will change as the bridge gets placed on top of these tracks.
The group behind this initiative is a grassroots nonprofit called Awake the Lake.
Over the course of the last 15 years, they've been working on restoring this entire area.
In the past 5 to 10 years, they've been working different railroad companies, and most recently with the Union Pacific Railroad Company to establish this pedestrian bridge as a safe alternative.
"There are many times when people cross the railroad tracks and that is illegal," said Bonnie Tinker, a board member of Awake the Lake. "And it's very unsafe. We've seen mothers struggle with children in strollers and that kind of thing. And you know, if you get stuck there long enough, you could be in real trouble."
A grant from Great Outdoors Colorado is covering $349,893, or an estimated 70%, of the restoration project that includes this morning's bridge installation.
The restoration project will also include the construction of a frisbee/golf course and a little league field.
The town of Palmer Lake and Awake the Lake have to pay for the entire project before they are reimbursed the amount approved by Great Outdoors Colorado.
As of now, Great Outdoors Colorado has reimbursed $174,779.51 and will reimburse the rest of the grant money once construction is finalized.
That means the town and Awake the Lake still need funds to cover about half of the approved grant money. This is on top of the 30% the town is already responsible for.
There will be a series of fundraisers to collect enough money to make that happen. One of the fundraisers happening now is through the Bliss Studio and Gallery in Monument.
Folks can buy a space on a train car to decorate or use it as a spot to place their business logo.
If you'd like to donate by purchasing a sheet that will be placed on a train car, you can find more information here.