The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 9, 2013

Trail path options: Parks panel also discusses paddleboats, EJRT

ENID, Okla. — City staff are preparing options for how $2 million will be spent on trail extensions and could present some findings to Enid City Commission soon.

Assistant City Manager Joan Riley told Enid Park Board the city commission gave a directive to spend $2 million primarily to bring the trail downtown.

“Probably what’s going to come back to the council next will be what kind of cost is associated with that,” she said. “It’s frustrating because if you want to do what we want, the money goes very quickly.”

Riley said commissioners want to see an impact, and staff want to make sure that happens. Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell noted in the Park Board’s meeting Tuesday the trail renovation budget ballooned for a specific reason.

“That’s why that number got big. We want to connect to downtown,” he said.

One of the problems the city faces by building a downtown spur is the high concentration of landowners. That means there inevitably will be more property owners to negotiate with for right-of- way access.

“If you go to head downtown, you’re not going to see much. It may take us two or three years, even at $2 million, to get some concrete laid,” Riley said.

Riley said a leg of the trail heading to Meadowlake Park is ready to go and probably will be completed quickly. Another option to head into the city, a proposed trail along Grand toward Garriott, is trickier.

That land lies along the railroad tracks on one side and unsightly industrial warehouses on the other, Park Board Chairman Matt Davis said.

Before beginning any work on a trail there, he said, the city may have to acquire some of the property.

“I will continue to advocate we’ve got to clear out some of those houses,” he said, noting that he’s seen pit bull dogs tied to chains in the area. “The first kid that gets his face ripped off by a pit bull — that whole stretch of trail’s dead on arrival.”

Riley said the city might be able to work out a right- of-way clearance to avoid taking any houses along Grand. If anyone is displaced, though, she said the value of the property may not be enough to put that resident into another house.

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