The Enid Trail System has been approved by Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Matt Davis, a member of the Enid Park Advisory Board who worked on the trail system, said it will be constructed using a 50-50 match between the city and Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the total grant so far is about $450,000. Several phases are planned, and he does not know how much actually will be completed.
“It all started to come together when we got the map of the system that we can use to sell the DOT,” Davis said. Before the map, it was difficult to explain what the trail is and where it will go.
Davis said the plan is to build southwest, crossing to the southwestern part of town. The trail is planned to extend from Walmart to downtown, where it can lead one of four directions. The overview shows the trail extending from Oakwood to Parkway and goes partially along Enid’s core drainage channel, including a bridge over the channel by Meadows Point Apartments.
The bridge is one of the expensive “bottlenecks” Davis said will have to be overcome, driving up the cost.
“We will run into bottlenecks that are expensive to care for,” Davis said. “The bridge is expensive, about $200,000, but there are no problems that engineering and money can’t take care of.”
Phase two will extend from Oakwood to Garland to Walmart and possibly include Oakwood Mall. Funding also has been set aside for a trail head at Cleveland, with restrooms and a parking area, he said.
Phases one through four include from Walmart to Van Buren and up to Garriott. Davis said that is the easy part.
“We have the right-of-way from the railroad and it connects businesses, neighborhoods and schools, which is what the DOT wants for a grant,” Davis said.
He expects those phases to be done in “a couple” of years. Then there are four options:
• Go north from Walmart, across Garriott and into Cedar Ridge. However, planners have not yet figured out how to have the trail safely cross Garriott.
• From Emmanuel Baptist Church, under Garriott and up the railroad right-of-way north of Lincoln and cross the railroad. Crossing Garriott remains a problem, and right-of-way must be obtained from Farm Rail, who Davis said has not yet been approached. That route would connect with a number of neighborhoods and go all the way to Crosslin Park.
“It goes through the center of town,” he said.
• A spur from Meadowlake Park to Vance Air Force Base, a distance of about three-quarters of a mile.
“The common denominator we’re looking for is will a 30-year-old mommy with two kids in a stroller feel safe,” Davis said. “In Enid, you must do things right. If you do, people will remember it, appreciate it and they will use it.”
The city has repaved the old area near Enid High School, which was Enid’s first attempt at a walking trail.
• From Independence to the old Santa Fe Depot. As a recommendation, the Park Board would like to use that depot as the trail headquarters, with Enid Farmers Market next door, as part of an extension of Enid Renaissance project. From the depot, the trail will go through north Government Springs Park and continue to the colleges on Enid’s east side.
Davis said the final price tag will depend on the cost of concrete and engineering costs, but it “will be in the millions.”
Other trails in Oklahoma are tourist destinations, but Davis said the Enid trail will be not only for recreation, but also a transportation alternative. The park board has been working on a trail system for 10-15 years, but finally “got off high-center” when they obtained the trail map.
“We learned if you want to get a project moving, you must get the landscape architecture done. You must have that to get the funding,” he said.
The board now is working with architect David Greusel on a Meadowlake Park project that would include the trail system around the park and some additions to the park and the playground. Plans include a small cafe at the lake.
The trail will be both walking and biking. Members of the Park Board, particularly Davis, one of the original advocates of the trail system, believe it will change Enid.
“This is a game-changer in quality of life here,” Davis said. “Eighty percent of the population will be within a half-mile of the trail. They will be able to go from Walmart to the colleges, and Crosslin Park to Vance Air Force Base, crossing very few roads.”