The North Bend Eagle

 

Proposed trail

Walking, joggin path proposed for North Bend

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 2/17/16

North Bend City Council member Tom Mullally addressed the North Bend Central Board of Education last week with a proposition that he didn’t want any action on, but wanted the board to be aware of and endorse if they felt so moved.

Mullally presented a proposed project that the City Council has been discussing since October. The proposal is for a new concrete trail about 7,100 linear feet long that will connect the high school to the city park. One of the reasons the city is looking into this trail is that there is a federal Alternative Transportation Grant program that would cover 80 percent of the cost.

The estimated cost (construction, utility relocation, engineering cost) is $884,000. With the 80 percent federal funding, the cost for the city would be $177,000. Julie Ogden at JEO Consulting wrote the grant proposal.

She said the grant is federal money funneled through the Nebraska Department of Roads. It can go toward transportation for anything other than a motorized vehicle.

The proposed route would connect with the existing trail encircling the Franklin-Cotterell Greens Arboretum on the west side of town, go north along the western edge of the school property, then head east along the city’s northern corporate limits to the city’s eastern corporate limits. The trail would then head south to 13th street, where it would go along the edge of the park to the North Bend Public Library. At Locust Street the trail would go along the western edge of the city park.

Mullally said a benefit of going along the edge of town is that the trail will only cross one street. A barrier and flashing light would be installed where the trail would cross Highway 79. The city would maintain the trail.

Ogden said this route may not be the final route as it has less visibility, less lighting for joggers.

“It may come down to the safety factor,” Ogden said.

The board saw this trail as an alternative route for students to get to school, for track and cross country athletes to run instead of running on city streets or highways.

The city has received initial approval that they are deemed eligible to apply for the grant. Wahoo, Blair, Wayne and Schuyler have received similar grants.
Mullally said that the city council has suspended the application for this year to get more input from residents before proceeding.

“It’s down the road a bit,” mayor Jeff Kluthe said. “If we get it done, It’d be nice, but it’s not a priority on the agenda right now. We may have to switch the path.”

The Chamber of Commerce has already endorsed the trail idea. Property owners who would be affected by this trail received a letter. Some objections were voiced.

“The end goal is to improve our community,” Mullally said. The NBC school boards agreed with the sentiment.

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