TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Tyler City Council agreed to move forward with the process to expand a regional trail system to nearly double its length.
Legacy Trail officially opened Monday. Five
“The main criteria of the grant is to provide safe access to schools," said Stephanie Franklin, a managing director with the City of Tyler. "And so, looking at where Legacy Trail connects, we wanted to make sure we connected to the school.”
While walking may be the only way some students get to school, the path they take to get there is not always ideal
Fortunately, the City of Tyler is working on connecting schools like Peete Elementary School to more than 10 miles of concrete trails specifically made for walking, running, and biking.
“Kids needs to have the opportunity to bike or walk, and even citizens who want to walk their kids to school, instead of always the transportation of a car, which causes a lot of congestion around the school," said Franklin.
Franklin explained that the idea of safe, scenic trails throughout the city has ranked high on Tyler residents’ wish-lists for many years.
The city council’s vote on Wednesday further met that need.
“We heard about it 10 years ago when we made the Master Plan, we’re hearing about it now 10 years later," said Franklin. "So, we want to keep those projects to the forefront.”
If approved by TxDOT, the city would expand the current Legacy Trail by four more miles, stretching nearly 10 miles from Gresham to the Tyler Rose Garden.
And while the project is still in its infancy, city leaders are already looking to other opportunities to grow.
“I think what the council wants to make sure of is that we are looking at what connections we need to make, so, that’s why in the future Parks and Open Space Plan, we looked at Legacy to Rose Garden, and then possibly taking Legacy to the downtown area is the next step," Franklin said.
Franklin said the city is requesting $4 million from the Transportation Alternative and Safe Routes to School grant; she added the city would match the grant with an additional $1.2 million.
The grant application process will begin in August, and the city could receive an answer by December.
Add in the planning and construction process, Franklin said it could be 2021 before the expansion would be ready for use.