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Foundation members frustrated at missed connections

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The city of Roswell has abandoned plans to use the alley between Wyoming Avenue and the Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River to connect the Spring River Trail to the Cielo Grande Recreation Area. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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Representatives of the Spring River Corridor Foundation said they are still committed to working with the city to connect its trails but expressed some frustration that the latest effort was abandoned without the group being informed.

In June, the Roswell City Council’s Infrastructure Committee discussed a proposal to use the alley of Wyoming Avenue to connect the Spring River Trail with Cielo Grande Recreation Area. Several residents of Wyoming Avenue had presented a petition against the proposal citing concerns about loss of privacy and vehicle access as well as possibly increasing crime in the neighborhood. The topic was for discussion only and no action was taken.

Jim Burress, director of special services for the city of Roswell, confirmed the alley is no longer being considered and said he is working on an alternative plan.

Bob Edwards, a member of the Spring River Corridor Foundation, told the Roswell Daily Record the organization was never notified by the city the plan has been abandoned.

“I was disappointed that nobody could take the time to call,” he said.

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Edwards and Ivan Hall, the foundation’s president and a former city planner, both said they were frustrated with the lack of progress to connect the trails. Both spoke about plans for the trails connection and a possible art project at Monday’s Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

“The foundation has been working on probably three or four years with the city trying to connect the Spring River Trail, which is 5 miles long, to the Cielo Grande trail system, which is another 2 to 3 miles of trail,” Hall said in a phone interview.

“We’ve been trying to get that done for a long time and just keep running into problems and not being able to get it accomplished,” he said.

But both said they look forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Commission and the city on other plans to connect the trails. The foundation might also partner with Healthy Kids Chaves County on future proposals.

Hall said, however, financial support from the foundation for connecting trails might come with a deadline.

“We have some interest in helping the city get some things done and potentially can help them financially,” Hall said.

Hall said the foundation had pledged a small amount of funds to help with the alley project, which was originally estimated at $6,000.

“We will probably end up as a board putting a deadline on our pledge and saying if it hasn’t been started or at least recognized as something that needs to be done by the city, then we would say the pledge is no longer there. We’re not going to sit on it forever,” Hall said.

Both men said the foundation was pleased to see the Roswell City Council formally accept the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan at its March 11 meeting. The plan was reviewed by the city’s Infrastructure Committee in February 2020 and completed two months later, but it was never presented to the city council to accept until recently.

The master plan outlines several options for connecting Cielo Grande and the Spring River Trail, including an east-west path across an old runway of the Old Municipal Airport area to Eighth Street and meeting up with the trail at the J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary and Nature Center. That trail then links up with the Spring River Trail just to the north.

“It’s a need that I think the community would really profit from. What it would do is get the two trails together where you have an 8- to 9-mile continuous trail system,” Hall said.

The master plan also mentions the now-abandoned alley trail as well as trails along Sycamore or Montana avenues as possible connections.

Hall and Edwards said the foundation is also continuing to work on contributing to art along the Spring River Trail with a new project that would highlight Cahoon Park’s history.

In the early 20th century, the park was known as Haynes’ Dream Park, built by Charles Haynes, a cattleman and real estate developer who served as Chaves County sheriff.

“Back when the Spring River ran 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep, this guy Haynes had developed a beautiful area where even small boats would take people along the pond and the stream bed. It had a gazebo, and it was very lush,” Hall said.

All that remains of Hayne’s Dream is the sunken garden, Hall said.

The foundation is looking at placing the new work where the swimming pool was located in Cahoon Park and will work with the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Parks Department on the proposal.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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