EDMOND — Arcadia Lake Trail Coalition members liked what they saw when they got their first look at a three-mile trail that has been cleared and leveled from Interstate 35 to Spring Creek Park at Arcadia Lake. “This is impressive” said Henry Holasek, owner of Al’s Bicycles and a coalition member, as he walked to the start of the trail on the southwest portion of A Loop in Spring Creek Park.
“We’re excited about this” said Caleb McCaleb, one of the original members of the coalition. It is the first portion of what coalition members plan to be an 18-mile trail around Arcadia Lake. The first three miles of the multipurpose trail are expected to be finished by August.
“We wanted to show off the trail,” Kasey Evans, coalition chairman, said during a meeting held this week at the trail construction site. “It is a wide trail. It looks like a road.” Coalition members are raising private money to build the one-of-a-kind trail in the greater Oklahoma City metro area. The first three miles of the trail cost $2.9 million. The money is coming from a special sales tax passed by voters in 2000 for capital improvements.
Coalition members hope the city’s commitment to build the first three-mile section will boost their fundraising efforts. Edmond Land Conservancy is partnering with the city and the coalition. The estimated cost is $1 million per mile. The trail will be constructed in phases over four to five years. City park staffers have received a small trail development grant. “You build it and people will run and walk and get rid of the heart disease we have in this state,” Evans said.
The Arcadia Lake Trail has been a long time coming. City council members first heard a proposal more than 3½ years ago. The original organizer, David Tew, wanted the trail for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. He was joined in his vision by local developers McCaleb and Jim Tapp. Raising money might have been easier when the idea was born than it is now with the downturn in the economy.
“They are reviewing the possibility of a small extension of this trail with these funds” said City Manager Larry Stevens. “It is a matching grant which would help fund $300,000 of additional trail from Spring Creek Park to the park entrance on 15th Street.” The contractor, Rudy Construction, has 240 calendar days to finish the first three miles. “We are now about 130 days into the project, We are making good progress,” Stevens said.
Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said the 18-foot-wide trails allow eight feet for pedestrians and 10 feet for bicyclists. A 24-foot area has been cleared to construct the trail. “We found a couple of soft spots” Commons said. “We will have to get that worked out. Once they get to the asphalt it will go down pretty quick. We have no concerns at this time.” The next section of the trail will be from Spring Creek Park to Carl Reherman Park, now under construction. “The prettiest part is to Carl Reherman Park” McCaleb said. “It sits up high and there is a view of the lake.”
Voters on April 5 approved a half-cent sales tax for 10 years for capital improvements. A 21-member citizens task force recommended after a 17-week study a list of improvements they want the money spent on. An expanded and improved trails system was one of the recommended projects to be funded with the tax money. McCaleb said he wanted to get in line first for some of the new capital improvement tax money for the trail improvements. “We wanted to show off the trail,” Evans said, “It is a wide trail. It looks like a road.”
Original article by: DIANA BALDWIN
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