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A new trail that connects Broomfield's Anthem subdivision to the regional Coal Creek Trail is now open to the public.

The short trail, which is already seeing lots of traffic despite being open for about a week, is meant to serve Anthem residents seeking safe access to 27 miles of regional trails that span from Superior to Erie.

The path also welcomes runners, cyclists and pedestrians into Anthem's 48 miles of neighborhood trails.

The Anthem to Coal Creek trail connection is a partnership between Broomfield, Lafayette and Boulder County -- a partnership the three entities see as a way to widen access to an ever-expanding regional trail system.

"We're surprised and excited by how many people are already using it," said Monte Stevenson, Lafayette's director of Parks, Open Space and Golf.

"This project is an excellent example of how communities collaborate together to make trail connections that might otherwise be difficult when they stop at county lines."

A week before its official opening, trail users were too excited to obey the "trail closed" sign that blocked the new path.

Bike tire marks and footprints from running shoes made dents in the piles of crusher fines that had not yet been evenly smoothed across the path.

Though construction was on schedule, Bob Dennis, an Anthem resident, also was antsy.

"I have a shovel. If they'd let me, I'd finish the trail," he said.

The newly-complete trail now runs from the west side of Anthem -- which is bordered on the north by Colo. 7 and straddles both sides of Lowell Boulevard -- through the Mountain View Egg Farm open space property until it connects to the Coal Creek Trail. Lafayette owns the farm property.

Broomfield paid Lafayette $100,000 to build the trail, but also will set aside an additional $162,000 to demolish four abandoned egg-laying facilities on the property. Another $200,000 will help balance Lafayette's past investment in the property.

The Boulder County Youth Corps took the lead in building the trail that links the two communities, according to Lafayette's Open Space Division.

The project has received support from several groups of Broomfield residents, even though the project is not technically located in Broomfield.

One main group is an Anthem-based cycling group, which asked City Council to support the trail connection so cyclists did not have to access the trail from a dangerously narrow section of Colo. 7.

Lafayette jointly acquired the Mountain View Egg Farm open space parcel with Boulder County four years ago and paid about $3 million of the total $5.25 million price tag.

Broomfield had a chance to pay $2 million for a share of ownership in Mountain View in 2009, but decided to pass up the offer. Broomfield also decided against a separate offer of a 20 percent share of the property for $1 million.

Broomfield Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes said the price seemed too steep back then, but the newly-created trail was a more appropriate investment this time around.

Residents often tell him how much they use the Coal Creek Trail and other regional trails, he said during a January study session about the project.

By providing access to the trails, "we're serving our residents," he said.

Broomfield officials said an agreement with Lafayette and Boulder County has other perks, too. A partnership with Lafayette can help strengthen ties between the cities, which will help lay the groundwork for when Broomfield and Lafayette must work out mutual capital projects in the future, said Broomfield City and County Manager Charles Ozaki said.

Broomfield's investment in the project also will help make up for Broomfield residents' use of trails that are not in their own city, he said.

Kristan Pritz, director of Broomfield Open Space and Trails, said the Anthem trail will be a good addition to Broomfield's established collection of public and privately-built trails.

"It's a great connector, particularly in Anthem, that will give people great regional access," she said.