People in Fayetteville, Arkansas are celebrating the opening of a new multi-use trail in their city:
Hundreds of people in Gordon Long Park Saturday celebrated the opening of a 4. 4-mile section of Scull Creek Trail, known as “the backbone of the Fayetteville trails system.”
Some came to walk or ride the 12-foot-wide trail, some came for the ribbon cutting, others came for the free veggie burger and hot dogs, but the crowd was energetic and the mood festive. Volunteers said they had served 250 veggies burgers and 700 hot dogs by 12: 30 p. m., and people were still in line for more hot dogs, chips and cookies.
Wade Colwell, chairman of the city’s parks board, said the look on the faces of those on the trail Saturday shows how much they enjoy it.
“What you see is a smile from ear to ear,” Colwell said. “One word sums this up – wow.”
Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody recalled serving as on the City Council in 1991 and asking the mayor, the city manager and council members about starting a bike trail.
“They laughed (and said) only kids ride bikes,” Coody said.
No one was laughing at the idea Saturday, and most of those on bikes were not kids.
The Scull Creek corridor was identified early in the trail planning process as an ideal location for a trail due to its proximity to numerous parks, residences, businesses and the University of Arkansas.
Scull Creek Trail was built by the city of Fayetteville’s in-house trails construction crew. It connects to the existing 1. 9-mile-long Mud Creek Trail, creating a continuous 6. 3-mile stretch in the expanding trail system.
The city’s Alternative Transportation and Trails Master Plan identifies Scull Creek Trail as the “backbone”of the 129-mile planned trail system. The 2006 voter-approved trails bond program has provided much of the funding for Scull Creek Trail.
State Rep. Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville said she is excited to see the opening of the final section of the Skull Creek Trail. She said she secured an appropriation for a $ 55,000 grant for this section of the trail in 2005 during her first term in the Legislature.
Smith believes Fayetteville’s growing trail system is very important for the city and its future. She said it’s fun and it encourages people to exercise.
“It’s huge. It helps define the city. It fits right in the culture,” Smith said. “It’s walkable, it’s remarkable and it’s happy. It fits perfectly with the city.”
Fayetteville Alderman Kyle Cook said the trails do much more than provide recreation and exercise.
“To me it’s all about transportation. You can get where you want to go,” Cook said in an interview.
Sounds like the leadership in Fayetteville “gets it”: Trails are more than just recreation — they’re basic transportation infrastructure.
Read more from the Northwest Arkansas Times.