By David Tuma, Publisher
Work on the Nolan Creek Nature Trail near the new MLK Bridge has begun. This project is part of the Nolan Creek Trail system. The quarter mile trail will be a path along the creek filled with recycled asphalt.
Both the trail and bridge will be open July 12. The Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail began as a dream and soon will reach Belton High School. Once completed, this trail system will connect Lake Belton with the Belton Christian Youth Center. Along the way, there are breathtaking views over Nolan Creek. It is a highly used system year round.
The opening of the MLK Bridge will connect Loop 121 with the trail system. Sometime next year, work should begin on tunneling under the railroad tracks near the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The parking lot near this area is close to being completed.
The Texas Downtown Association awarded the Nolan Creek project as the best Public Improvement Project in 2015.
Flood control was completed with a white water grant. This eliminated two of the low water crossing near downtown. These crossing were tree and brush collectors during flooding. The area behind Coronas de Oro is heavily used in the summer months. In the winter, trout drops are a hit with the locals.
Flooding has be minimized but not eliminated. The beauty of Nolan Creek combined with the first class trail system is a one of a kind for Bell County. The 400 foot walking bridge near UMHB is outstanding.
The trail system was made possible by a series of grants, public donations and city funding. City Staff monitors Nolan Creek along a series of checkpoints from Killeen past downtown Belton.
“The debris is not piling up in along the creek in Belton. In the past, this did happen causing the water to rise higher. We still have two low water crossings in our area. One of them is at East Ave. A. The other on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Campus,” said Grants Special Projects Coordinator Aaron Harris.
In the past, after very high rains, it took city maintenance crews weeks to clear the debris. After floods along Nolan Creek city crews have to replace grass and clear the rocks and sand along the white water areas near downtown.
The City of Belton, along with Killeen, Harker Heights, Nolanville and Bell County, applied for a region grant. There will be additional early warning monitors installed. Several studies will be completed including the possible need for regional detention ponds upstream of Belton. Identification and removal of the East Ave. A low water crossing as a regional project. Total cost of the project would be $546,700.
Work continues on the dam-to dam road with right-of-ways being purchased. This area will eventually be developed for high-end new home construction. Right-of-ways are being purchased in the City of Belton leading from Hwy. 190 and also from Lake Road.