Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: August 16, 2012

Kansas Trail News for August 16, 2012 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Old Smoky Hill Trail

The Pond Creek Stage Station in Wallace was built in 1866 and served as a station for the Butterfield Overland Dispatch on the Old Smoky Hill Trail. The station was restored using the Kansas State Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The innovative historic preservation tax credit program began in 2001 and recently celebrated its 1,000th project (Source: Kansas Preservation, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2012). Legislation has been proposed to make the SMT a national historic trail.

Built Enviroment and Outdoor Summit

The annual Built Environment and Outdoor Summit is a three-day conference scheduled this year for October 24-26 in Manhattan and always includes workshops on trail-building, funding and development. For more information, go to: http://www.kansasbeos.org/about-the-summit.html

City Of Galva To Pave Trail Segment

Joyce Walker with Central Kansas Conservancy reports that the City of Galva is planning to pave the Sunflower Santa Fe Trail within the city limits. The concrete path will be one-half mile in length. The City is also going to move a gazebo to the trail. Enthusiasm in the Galva area is building and once funding is obtained, the trail will be extended from one mile west of the community to McPherson where it will eventually connect with the Meadowlark Trail. The first mile of completed trail with crushed limestone was dedicated on July 4.

Kansas Byways Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

KDOT has received a $260,000 federal National Scenic Byways Program grant to “develop a strategic plan to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians with safe facilities while traveling the State’s Byways…” (Source: KDOT news release). Once the plan is complete, Kansas may be eligible for federal funding for building multiuse paths within Scenic Byways corridors. This could allow linkages to be developed between existing long-distance trails in the Sunflower State. However, the new transportation law 21st Century MAP-21 has apparently eliminated direct funding for the National Scenic Byways Program, though projects could be eligible for funds under the Transportation Alternative Program.

New Federal Transportation Alternatives Program

This summer Congress eliminated the Transportation Enhancements Program which has funded the development of scores of trails in Kansas over the last 20 years. The new transportation law is called 21st Century MAP-21 and substitutes Transportation Alternatives for the TEP program. Under the TA program, funding will decrease 33% to $800 million/year. This means that Kansas will get around $7.3 million/year. The problem is states can opt-out and transfer up to 50% to any other programs such as highways. Unless, the Kansas Secretary of Transportation and governor are lobbied hard by trail/biking advocates, this could happen in Kansas, and funding for trails in the Sunflower State would shrine even more.

Three Bridges Trail Receives Grant

Fred Peterson, Marquette City Clerk, reports that the City of Marquette has just received a $12,000 grant from the Mid Kansas Cooperative Association. This follows the receipt of $6,000 from the Marquette Community Foundation; $5,000 from the Timmon’s Foundation; and $5,000 allocated by the City for a total of $28,000. Funds will be used to match a $25,000 grant by the Sunflower Foundation. Construction on the trail is expected to begin in late fall on the two-mile rail-trail. Crushed limestone will be installed on the Three Bridges Trail.

Hiawatha Bike and Walking Trail Funded

A federal Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program grant of $782,967 has been awarded to the City of Hiawatha to be used to fund construction of a fitness and school trail. The City was awarded a $22,000 grant from the Sunflower Foundation early in the year to be used as a match. Construction could start as early as 2013. The first phase will connect several locations in east Hiawatha including Little Hands Day Care Center, Hiawatha Aquatic Park, Fisher Community Center, Hiawatha High School, and Maple Heights Nursing Home (Source: KDOT news release).

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc., P.O. Box 44-2043, Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-842-3458. Reprinted with permission. If you have any trail news you’d like to share, please contact us.

Note from Kansas Cyclist: Sorry for the lateness of this post!

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By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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