Park projects to offer more leisure options

Published on Saturday, 24 May 2014 22:50 - Written by Kelly Gooch

Ashley Sosa uses the outdoors to spend quality time with her family.

With the sun shining above her, the 26-year-old walks with her children along a concrete trail at Woldert Park.

“It’s real peaceful and quiet here,” she said on Monday as she stood near the park’s fishing pond.

Ms. Sosa and other community members will have more options for recreation and fitness once planned trail projects are completed.

Those projects include adding 4 to 6 miles of mountain bike trail at Faulkner Park; building a 4-mile crushed granite nature trail at Woldert Park, which is adjacent to the Glass Recreation Center; and extending the South Tyler Trails from Grande Boulevard to Faulkner Park.

The trail extension at Faulkner Park will be a natural tread trail, similar to the existing mountain bike trail, said Tyler Simpson, with the Tyler Bicycle Club.

Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings said the crushed granite nature trail at Woldert Park will include a bridge and be located in a floodplain.

The long-term plan is for the nature trail to go all the way to the North Chase development, she said. But for now, four miles are planned.

Ms. Rollings said people will be able to use that trail extension from Grande Boulevard to Faulkner Park for commuting and fitness.

Once the extension is built, “they can realistically get from Robert E. Lee (High School), which is the Loop (323), all the way to … Faulkner,” she said.

And with all of the proposed projects, she said the idea is to offer options for outdoor enthusiasts.

“Really the idea is to diversify our trail options so people who don’t necessarily want to walk on sidewalks or be in the middle of town have an option to go to trails that are more nature-based, and then also mountain bikers can use them, too,” Ms. Rollings said. “It just provides opportunity to get out and exercise.”

The city has received Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grants for the trail addition at Faulkner Park and the nature trail adjacent to Glass Recreation Center. The extension of the South Tyler Trails will be funded through half-cent sales tax revenues.

Ms. Rollings said the goal is for the nature trail at Woldert Park and the trail addition at Faulkner Park to open this fall or early next year.

As far as the extension of the South Tyler Trails from Grande Boulevard to Faulkner Park, design is about 85 percent complete, and the hope is to bid it out in the coming months, City Engineer Carter Delleney said via email. He said he believes the construction timeline should take about a year from start to finish.

Aside from those planned projects, there are other possibilities for future trails, such as using an abandoned rail corridor for a hike-and-bike trail, Ms. Rollings said. Such a project would provide access to communities south of Tyler.

Additionally, Simpson said, a potential children’s mountain bike park project in Faulkner Park is in the brainstorming stage.

He said Tyler Bicycle Club members have talked about the idea, but no proposal has officially come together.

In the meantime, he said, the Tyler Bicycle Club is attempting to organize an advocacy committee to look at ideas to make Tyler a more cycling-friendly community and invites people to visit for more information.