City Commission discusses trails additions

Ponca City Now - August 4, 2015 1:38 pm

By Beverly Bryant/News Director

Ponca City’s Board of Commissioners heard a discussion about the city’s Trails Master Plan at Monday afternoon’s work session.

City Manager Craig Stephenson said the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will have another cycle of funding for alternative transportation methods. Applications for the grants are anticipated to open in September, he said.

Jeff Morales of LandPlan Consultants said several components to the Trails Master Plan have been completed since the plan was first implemented in 1999. He introduced five phases that would lead to completion of the system from Redbud Park to Lake Ponca.

The plan Morales presented shows trails continuing along Hartford with a crossing mid-block or a crossing at Pecan Road. He said this would be one of the challenging sections because of the location of electric poles and narrow right-of-ways along Hartford east of Pecan.

“Farther east will work out well until Kygar Road. This segment will be easy to construct,” Morales said.

He said the most costly portion will be crossing the spillway.

“We need a good place to cross. This will be a 270-feet, single-span bridge,” he said. “There are other options with a price tag.”

The final loop phase would be through the event area at Lake Ponca, north of the swim beach and south of the Wentz Golf Course, he said.

The overall cost for the five phases would be more than $5 million, Morales said.

On Morales’ list, the segments were:

  1. From Redbud Park to Pecan (on north side). Concerns are crossing and right of way with water and gas lines; some properties have retaining walls.
  2. Pecan to Snake Road.
  3. Bridge from Snake Road and L.A. Cann
  4. Pick up at the bridge and make the loop around the Lake Ponca Events area.

Jim Sindelar, director of Ponca City’s Park and Recreation Department, said staff recommends changing the priorities on the trail segment priorities that should be changed. He said his recommendation is to make the loop section Priority 1 because of events already out there – disc golf, the swim beach, and events area.

His second priority would be the bridge and going from loop back to bridge. Third would be attaching the trail head with parking and restroom, and last, from the trail head back to Pecan.

When the applications for the Transportation Department grants open, the maximum amount funded by the state would be $700,000 from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, with $400,000 funded by the city’s hotel-motel tax earmarked for recreation.

City Manager Craig Stephenson said the grants would probably be awarded no sooner than the end of the year and construction would begin next summer at the earliest.

City Finance Director Marc LaBossiere said projects like this are one of the reasons Ponca City keeps fund balances.

“It will make it easier for us to have the matching funds all on hand. It’s an 80/20 match. Our fund balances make us more compatible for such grants,” he said. “It is important for citizens to understand this comes from hotel-motel tax so it is paid for by out-of-towners and 3 percent of that tax is earmarked for recreation.”

Cutline: The Marland Estate Trail begins at the west gate of the Marland Estate, extending through Unity Gym parking, and continues through Redbud Park to Hartford Avenue. The trail is .711 mile in length.


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