By David Tuma, The Belton Journal
Belton is at it again. With the top trail system in the area, Belton is looking to hit one out of the park. They haven’t even connected Loop 121 with the Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trial yet. City staff is working on applying for a $1.5 million trail grant for Phase II of the Chisholm Trail Hike and Bike corridor.
This extension is game changing for the community and the City of Belton. They will apply for the grant in early May. It will take the trail down University Boulevard through the UMHB campus over the BNSF railway line and connect with Sparta Elementary School, Chisholm Trail Park and Belton High School.
Small communities across the state compete for TxDot grant dollars through the Transportation Alternatives Program. TAP provides funding for a variety of alternative transportation projects, including on-and-off road pedestrian bicycle facilities and Safe Routes to Schools infrastructure plans.
The proposed trail will connect homes to some schools and connect the Belton Christian Youth Center with a trail that leads to Chisholm Trail Park. If the city is awarded the 1.5 million dollar proposal the funding is 80-20. The City of Belton will provide 20 percent matching funds.
Competition is state wide for these funds. Belton will apply using the Safe Routes to schools connecting the existing trail system. “The critical step is the stretch where the trail system crosses the rail road tracks near the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. This isn’t just a side walk along the road type of proposal. The state has changed the way they are doing things in terms of these types of grants. Big communities are not eligible for these funds. We have funds we can apply for in our area but this is a state funding application,” said Aaron Harris Grant and Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Belton.
If Belton wins the grant this opens up all kinds of areas to the trail system. Lake Belton is just right there. Dunn’s Canyon subdivision has a trail system in place. This proposed trail system could open a whole new world to travel in Belton. This is a bike and walking trail similar to the trails along Nolan Creek.
A wedding took place on Nolan Creek’s white water rock area behind The Gin this Monday. The wedding was right next to the rushing water of the creek in the flat area. You can see residents walking late in the afternoon in this area, it is a major attraction.
“If we can get across the rail road tracks it opens up all kind of opportunities for the community,” said Harris. The proposal will go to city council next week for approval to apply for the grant.
City Public Information officer Paul Romer plans on using a GoPro when he tubes down the creek, sometime soon. He plans to put it up on the City’s website so people can see the potential of the creek.