WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - For years, land located on the southwest side of Whitehouse was not used by the city, but now the city has released its new plans for it.
"We started thinking, the council and I, what could be the highest and best use for this public land," Whitehouse City Manager Aaron Smith said. "And one think that kept coming up was why not open this up to the folks, so we could use it for their benefit."
The city will take almost 90 acres of land and put a hiking and mountain bike trail through the woods. Right at the edge of a residential community, Smith thinks many people will enjoy this area.
"They want to be able to get outside, they want connectivity, they want to be a part of nature a little more and they want expanded parks and recreational activities and this is a way to do that," Smith said.
Repurposing this land will not only be a way for the community to enjoy nature but also allow businesses to make a profit.
"Mountain bike trails, they definitely have impacted the cycling business in east Texas," owner of Fitness and Adventure Sports Tyler Simpson said. "A lot of people love these trails."
This trail would be one of many throughout the Tyler and Whitehouse area, providing a safe place for cyclist to ride freely.
"You don't have to deal with cars and you get to be exposed to nature," Simpson said. "I mean they are beautiful trails."
While phase one is in the works and expected to be completed by the end of summer, phase two will take a little longer.
"Phase two, we would need to budget for that for next years budget," Smith said. "And if that went through the budget process, of course we would probably do that by the next summer."
Once both phases are complete, the trail will be just over 6 miles long, a distance that doesn't surprise Simpson.
"Tyler-Whitehouse area, we have more quality mountain bike millage per capita than most places in the country," Simpson said. "There's a lot of cities that would love to have what we have."
Right now the city is referring to the trail as the Blackhawk Creek because of a nearby body of water, but an official name has not been determined.
The city is also thinking about further development that could include a fishing pond on the grounds as well.