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Trail connection could be complete by end of year

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After several years of debate, two of Roswell’s recreation trails could be connected by the end of the year.

At its Sept. 9 meeting, the Roswell City Council approved an option first proposed in July by City Engineer Louis Najar to use Mississippi Avenue to connect the Spring River Trail with the outer loop trail at Cielo Grande Recreation Area. The plan will use street striping to create a 5-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path on Mississippi Avenue and Riverside Drive with speed humps to help slow traffic.

It was one of at least seven options discussed by the city and the Spring River Corridor Foundation through nearly the last five years. The foundation has offered to contribute funds for a trail connection. Foundation President Ivan Hall said the board might meet this week to discuss what the contribution might be.

The group, along with the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, has favored an option that would build a connecting trail from the west side of the Cielo Grande outer loop trail to the trail at the J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary near Sycamore Avenue. The sanctuary trail connects to Spring River Trail.

Councilor Barry Foster said another connection between the trails is still possible. 

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“This is just the first. We’ve talked about we don’t need to have just one connection going to Cielo Grande, and we do have some grants that we’ve applied for,” Foster said shortly before the 9-0 vote approving the connection. Councilor Daniel Lopez was absent from the meeting.

The city has applied for a $225,000 grant from the federal Transportation Alternative Program. If awarded, the funds would be available for fiscal year 2023.

“That way we could have a west side and an east side connecting, and this is the quickest and most economical one that we’ve seen,” Foster said of the Mississippi connection.

Another proposal favored by the city was to connect the trails using the alley between Wyoming Avenue and the Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River. However, objections by property owners on Wyoming Avenue led the city to reject that option. An alternative to that plan, introduced at the June General Services Committee meeting, proposed creating a path inside the fence of the golf course adjacent to the alley.

Najar had said that proposal would be costly, around $200,000, due to removing the fence and relocating the golf course chipping path and cart path.

The Mississippi option is estimated at $58,257. It includes striping for the trail and cross walks, construction of a ramp compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, culvert pipes, speed humps and signage. The project will be funded from the Engineering and Streets departments, Najar said.

The connection would start from where the Spring River Trail crosses Montana Avenue near the tennis courts and follow the sidewalk on the east side of Montana. It would then cross Riverside Drive and use the north side of that street.

“We’re not going to use the sidewalk because the sidewalk is not in very good shape and I’m still trying to save some money,” Najar said.

The trail would then continue north using the west side of Mississippi Avenue. The city’s next step will be to prohibit parking on that side of the street. A resolution for that will be introduced at Monday’s Infrastructure Committee meeting, Najar said.

“I drive by there at all sorts of times. I’ve only seen one time one vehicle parked on the west side,” Najar said. “There’s also no houses facing Mississippi on the west side, so it’s a good location.”

If the no-parking resolution is approved by the committee, it would then go before the full council at its Oct. 14 meeting for approval.

“With any luck, I’ll have the trail operating by the end of the year,” Najar told the Roswell Daily Record.

On the streets, the trail would be 5-feet wide, allowing for 11-foot-wide east and westbound lanes on Riverside Drive and 13-foot-wide south and northbound lanes on Mississippi.

The trail would cross West Eighth Street with an ADA ramp built on the north side of Eighth and an asphalt trail connecting to the existing Cielo Grande trail. It would cross a drainage area, so culvert pipes would be installed under the trail.

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

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