Scott City walking trail project moves forward

6/13/2012

By JOSEPH JACKMOVICH

By JOSEPH JACKMOVICH

jjackmovich@gctelegram.com

Plans are moving forward for the creation of a community-funded walking and biking trail in Scott City.

The estimated $363,000 Scott City Trail is a project aimed at creating an area for Scott City residents to exercise or travel. The final project would have a 1.4-mile trail built in Palmer Park, with an additional 3.85 miles of designated walking and biking areas in the city. The project was initiated last spring and is planned to be completed in three phases.

The project is funded through the Scott Community Foundation, with about $70,000 raised for the project so far. According to SCF Executive Director Ryan Roberts, most of that money came from donations following the deaths of the Spencer family, who were killed in a plane crash northeast of Topeka last April.

"They were an active family and very involved with walking and running," Roberts said. "This was one of the things their family wanted to get done."

Other anticipated money from the project is coming from a June 30 "Walk.Run.Roll" event held in Scott City. The event encourages people of all physical abilities to participate in a 5k or 10k, with proceeds of the race benefitting the Scott City Trail project. According to Roberts, all proceeds from the event will go to the project.

Along with the community support, the SCF received a $22,000 recognition grant from the Kansas Health foundation for the project. That money went toward paying an architect for the overall design of the project.

On June 4, the Scott City Commission approved the first phase of the project, which involves improvements to Palmer Park on the east side of the city. The first phase includes the construction of a half-mile, 8-foot wide sidewalk west of the swimming pool north to the park's sports complex. The estimated cost for the first phase is $76,091, and Roberts said that work will begin on the project whenever staff is available from the Public Works Department. He added that he was having a meeting Tuesday to attempt to determine the scheduling for the approved improvements to Palmer Park.

Phases two and three of the project will involve additional sections of 8-foot sidewalk in a circular pattern in the southern portion of the park and a connection to the previous two phases, respectively.

Roberts said that the city has asked the committee of the trail project to look into further options for designating the walking/riding trail in the city itself. The designation would mark an 8-foot section of the road specifically for walking and riding traffic. The research would allow city officials to better determine the best way to implement the designations in order to fulfill the goal while not creating unnecessary disruption.

"We're looking to designate a walking area," Roberts said, adding that his main goal was to provide a safe environment for walkers and bikers by connecting the city east to west. "We're not looking to build a walking trail. We don't want to interrupt any of the normal parking or anything crazy."

According to the project's master plan, a main section of the designated walking/biking lane would be on Ninth Street from Maddux Park almost all the way to Palmer Park. Other designated areas would include portions of Cedar, Sixth, Antelope and Washington streets. Completion of the project would connect the city's parks to one another via the designated paths.

Roberts said that he was thankful for the progress and the community support so far for the project. He said that he intends to involve the community in the entire process to ensure that the project is appreciated and completed according to what the community wants. He added that the Spencer family and Walk.Run.Roll organizer Suzanne Griffith were instrumental in getting everything for the project going thus far.

"Our community hopes that this brings a safe and well-designed place where people can enjoy exercising, walking and running," Roberts said. "We want to provide a better place in our community so people can enjoy physical activity."

For more information on the Scott City Trail Project, contact the Scott Community Foundation at (620) 872-3790. For information on how to register for the Walk.Run.Roll event, call (620) 872-7182 or (620) 874-1363.

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