The next step toward a connecting trail system that will include Willow Park was taken Tuesday, Oct. 10, when the city council approved an amendment to the city's 2019 Parks & Trails Master Plan.
In January the council approved a proposal by the firm of Baird, Hampton & Brown (BHB) to draft an amendment to the plan to include a final design of the Willow Park Trail System. The amendment approved Tuesday includes a current, realistic, and implementable trail plan and map, officially validating the trail project, officials noted.
BHB Senior Design Engineer Larry Colvin made the presentation. He is also president of the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club, a 501c(3) nonprofit, which helped produce the plan.
“I’m really excited for this night to happen,” Colvin told the council. “They can actually plan a development around this trails plan.”
The goals of the amendment are to:
*Identify areas on public and private lands that are suitable for trail development within the city limits and extra-territorial jurisdiction of Willow Park.
*Establish a framework of cooperation between the City of Willow Park, trail steward nonprofits, private property owners, and land developers to create singletrack trails and bikeways.
*Provide land developers with a concept trail plan for public/private trail development partnerships.
*Identify bikeways within the city that connect singletrack trail networks.
*Create a forum to educate the public on the stewardship responsibilities of singletrack trail sustainability.
*Partner with municipalities adjacent to Willow Park and the North Central Texas Council of Governments to create a cohesive trail network in East Parker County.
Other trails in Parker County that can be compared to the Willow Park system include:
*Quanah Hill - A 7.1-mile singletrack trail on approximately 108 acres located on the west side of Lake Weatherford.
*Parks of Aledo (POA) Trails - A stacked loop trail system of eight connected trails inside a 436-acre residential development of over 1,000 homes in the City of Aledo.
Proposed bikeways in the Willow Park system will focus on connecting six East Parker County communities. They are Aledo, Annetta, Annetta North, Willow Park, Hudson Oaks and Weatherford, ultimately creating a trail to connect downtown Aledo to Lake Weatherford.
The amendment priorities include:
*Construct the Kings Gate Park mountain bike trail and kids skills area by the end of 2023.
*Secure a trail connection across the Clear Fork of the Trinity River south of Interstate 20.
*Connect Kings Gate Park with the proposed Standard Service restaurant via a trail connection under the Interstate 20/Clear Fork Trinity River bridge.
*Connect Kings Gate Road and Ranch House Road via the Squaw Creek Trail plan.
*Connect Meadows Place Drive and Royal View Court with a bikeway.
*Advocate for more bikeways to connect Interstate 20 business/commercial district with the Crown Road bikeway.
*Establish a minimum setback limit of bikeways from the Clear Fork River.
*Meet with Brazos Electric to discuss the trails plan.
*Meet with the large private property owners to discuss the trails plan.
*Secure a 150-acre or larger tract to construct a 10-plus mile singletrack trail.
*Establish protocols for the transfer of property via Texas Parks & Wildlife Deprtment conservation easements or public land trust.
*Establish an East Parker County Trail (EPCoT) committee with representatives from each of the six communities.
*Support the City of Weatherford’s efforts to construct the Lake Weatherford Trail.
*Install signage along EPCoT route directing bicyclists between Quanah Hill and the POA Trails.
*Funding: Find trail champions within the citizen, business, and wellness community of East Parker County.
*Create a nonprofit foundation to support trail development in East Parker County (think Streams and Valleys).
In all, the trail system will be a 26-mile route, Colvin said. He noted that it can be traveled virtually now.
“I can upload it into my phone and we can go virtually hike this trail tonight,” he said.
Colvin also said hopes are to start work at the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.
“Our goal is to build this trail with no city tax dollars,” he said.
The council approved an advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to widen the King's Gate Road Bridge over Clear Fork Trinity River.
The bridge is included in the off-state system federal-aid Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program.
The State of Texas, acting through TxDOT and the City of Willow Park, executed an advance funding agreement on March 10, 2021, for work on the bridge. City officials said it has become necessary to amend the agreement to match the width added to King’s Gate Road.
The usual fund participation ratio for projects on such a program is 80% federal, 10% state and 10% local government. The local match is $184,412.
However, the Texas Administrative Code provides conditions that the local match can be waived with an agreement by the local government to perform or make sure work is done in an equivalent dollar amount of structural improvement work on other deficient bridges or deficient main lane cross-drainage structures within its jurisdiction. This is known as an “equivalent-match project.”
To fulfill this equivalency match for the waiver, the city is spending approximately $273,000 on work on Ranch House Road.
All other provisions of the original agreement are unchanged and remain in full force and effect.
The City of Willow Park had to adopt this resolution of amendment to proceed with the bridge project and obtain the federal and state funding shares.
The council approved the following holiday schedule for the city at Tuesday's meeting:
Friday, Nov. 10, Veteran’s Day.
Nov. 23-24, Thanksgiving.
Dec. 22-25, Christmas.
Dec. 29-Jan. 1, New Year's.
Jan. 15, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Feb. 19, President’s Day.
March 29, Good Friday.
May 27, Memorial Day.
June 19, Juneteenth.
July 4, Independence Day.
Sept. 2, Labor Day.
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