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Bastrop EDC funds $680,000 downtown trail route

The Bastrop Economic Development Corp. on Monday approved spending $680,000 to build a downtown trail route that will encircle the city’s core, making Bastrop more walkable for residents and visitors.

The trail will stretch east to west along Texas 71 from Loop 150 to Perkins Street, travel north on Water and Main streets and connect back to Loop 150 to curve west toward Texas 71.

The BEDC has supported the project over the past year, saying it will link Bastrop north and south of Texas 71 and east and west of the Colorado River, making it easier for people to walk or bike around town.

Bowman Consulting recently completed a route study to determine if the trail was feasible. Now, engineers will start design plans. The BEDC budgeted $180,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 to pay for the study and design. The remainder of that money, and some 2017-18 budget funding, will pay to complete the first phase of the trail, expected to break ground this fall.

It will stretch from the 100 block of Perkins Street west toward Loop 150 and the Texas 71 frontage road, then north to connect to an existing sidewalk at Eskew Street and is expected to cost $350,000.

The second phase will travel from Water Street north to Main and Walnut streets and will cost $250,000.

To complete the loop, the Texas Department of Transportation will add sidewalks along the Texas 71 frontage roads from Pecan to Perkins streets as it finishes work on the Texas 95 overpass.

The entire 1.8-mile sidewalk system should be constructed by 2019, the BEDC said.

Most of the trail will measure between 6 feet and 10 feet wide, depending on available right-of-way, making it ideal for pedestrians and bikers. It will be wheelchair compliant, the BEDC said.

A public hearing on the trail project at this month’s board meeting was sparsely attended. The lone speaker on the measure, Richard Smarzik, who owns the Main Street jewelry store Relics, favored the project since it would give people more ways to get downtown.

After a brief discussion, the board unanimously approved the expenditure of funds for the trail.

Read the full article at Statesman.com