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Proposed trail system gets big $$ boost

Proposed trail system gets big $$ boost

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer, The Enid News

A trail system years in the making received a big boost Monday with announcement of more than $400,000 funding from Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

Enid’s Comprehensive Master Trail System will receive $409,425 in Transportation Enhancement funds. Coupled with an appropriation of $308,864 from the city of Enid, the first phase of the trail system will receive a total of $718,289.

The Enid trail was one of 30 projects statewide to receive funding Monday. The money approved by OTC is included in $12 million Oklahoma Depart-ment of Transportation received through the federal Transportation Enhance-ment Program.

Enid Park Board has shepherded the project through the funding maze for a number of years, and Matt Davis, a member of the Park Board and co-chairman of the city’s trail committee, said Enid City Commission has encouraged the idea.

“We received a grant, and the city matched it to develop the comprehensive plan. We did that in the last year after we hired Land Plan Consultants,” he said.

The board applied for funding through ODOT, and Davis said any time the city adds matching funding it serves as added incentive.

“We always felt the city council was very supportive and very encouraging of the project,” he said.

A recent survey placed a trail system second in public preferences, second only to street improvements.

The next step is to begin the process of building the trail system. The trail recently was altered to link schools and parks with commercial areas. The board originally planned a master trail that looped the city and crossed Meadowlake Park. Now, the trail will go to central areas of the city.

Part of the purpose of the trail is to connect both sides of town to the system. Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid and Northern Oklahoma College Enid are developing their own pathway system between the two campuses and eventually want to connect with the city system, said Park Board Chairman Jerry Allen.

Organizers have long hoped the trail will not only be a scenic and recreational area, but will unite the city between residential and commercial areas.

OTC approved 30 requests from among 60 received. The enhancement projects use funds specifically are dedicated to community improvements, beautification, landscaping, bike paths, trails, sidewalks and historical preservation.

Also receiving funding were Kingfisher’s Southern Gateway Trail, $391,197, and city of Waynoka, $400,000 for rehabilitation of the historic Santa Fe Depot.

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