By Tim Bergsten
No official opening date has been set, but the Cog Railway, U.S. Forest Service, and the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs are making progress toward opening the Manitou Incline to the public. The Incline will remain closed until all agreements, license and permits are finalized.
Here's where the project stands as the new year begins.
The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA): One of the key pieces to the legalization process, the IGA outlines how Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs will share operations and maintenance responsibilities.
The IGA is being written and will go before the Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs city councils in the first quarter of this year. Once it is approved by both, many of the other agreements will fall into place.
KOAA interview Incline Friends member Sandi Yukman
Executive Agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities: This document allows citizens to utilize the lower third of the Incline. It has been signed and completed.
License Agreement with the Cog Railway and Colorado Springs: This agreement allows for construction of a trailhead and restrooms at the base of the Incline. The agreement calls for the Cog Railway to provide 16 current parking spots for the project in exchange for an equal amount of parking along Winter St. and Ruxton Ave.
The writing of this agreement is nearly finished and it will be signed upon approval of the IGA.
Forest Service Special Use Permit: Currently in the final stages of a review process, the Special Use Permit will open the upper third of the Incline to the public. It should be completed within four months.
Grants: An application has been submitted for a Colorado State Trails grant for $200,000. That funding will go to improving Conditions 5-7.
Trails work: With permission from Colorado Springs Utilities, a former social path has been improved by volunteers and is now recognized as an official trail. The new trail begins at the southeast corner of the Barr Trail Parking lot and leads to the base of the Incline.