New trail to promote family fitness

LYNDON-With snow covering the ground, not too many people are thinking about taking a walk in the park. But as the result of two grants recently awarded to the city of Lyndon, residents here might be able to enjoy fall colors on a new 4,100-foot trail that will wind its way through Jones Park.

According to Lyndon City Administrator Kim Newman, the idea for a concrete walkway and bikeway in the park came from plans being developed for the city’s possible inclusion in the state of Kansas’ Safe Routes to School program. As part of that planning, a master trail plan for the city was developed.

Newman said she had learned about a grant program for the purpose of building trails, offered by the Sunflower Foundation, so she submitted a proposal for constructing a two-loop trail in the park. Last week the city was notified of the award of $55,000 for the project.

But that wasn’t the only good news the city received in February. Newman also had contacted the W.S. & E.C. Jones Testamentary Trust, a trust that is known for its benevolence toward projects that benefit children. The trust is also the benefactor that has provided city parks in several of Osage County’s towns.

That contact, and subsequent submission of the proposal, led to the approval of a $91,250 grant to add to the project. The city was notified of that grant award Feb. 12.

Newman said the projected cost of the six-foot wide concrete trail is about $186,000, including the construction of a parking lot near the trail. Grants received so far will leave $35,000 to $40,000 the city will need to expend to complete the project. She said the city’s contribution can be with funds or in-kind labor.

“We’ll get a $200,000 trail for about $35,000,” Newman said.

As planned, the trail will include two loops of varied lengths to accommodate different fitness levels, and will wind around the park, in an area south of the city’s baseball fields. The site is bordered on the south by trees and farmland, pasture on the east, and residential area to the west. The new trail will connect with the existing Aldie Christesen Trail, which goes around Lyndon Elementary School and along Sixth Street to Topeka Avenue.

Newman said the goal of the project will be to promote fitness among the city’s residents.

“Projects such as trails enhance Lyndon by improving the quality of life for our residents,” she said. “Family-friendly projects will attract more residents to Lyndon and increase our tax base. So, it’s really a double win. Our residents get a beautiful trail for fitness now and hopefully benefit in the future by gaining more neighbors.”

Newman said a more immediate benefit will possibly be seen by local contractors, who will be invited to bid on the project. Involving local businesses would help to keep the funds in the community.

She said the city is grateful for the donations from the two organizations, without which the trail would likely never be built. Future implementation of the city’s master trail plan, which proposes to extend walking paths across the city, will hinge on such donations, she said.

“This is part of a larger project that will take many years and a variety of funding sources,” Newman said. “Our goal will be to pursue private grants.”

She said the city is continuing to work to be included in the Safe Routes to School program.

The timeline for the Jones Memorial Park Trail is quick, with bids expected to be let this month, and construction completed in the fall.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas