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Board focuses on trails

Advisory board discusses future of new trail system

By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
The Craig Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board met last week to discuss and plan the next projects for the Craig Parks and Recreation Department.
The building of the Ridgeview trail and the memorial bench project are the focus of the department for the immediate future.
The board also received an overview of the developing master plan at last week’s meeting, said Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation department director.
“The board was told where we are with the master plan,” Pike said. “They think we’re on the right track, and they’ll be reviewing the next draft in the second week of January.”
The Ridgeview trail project would run from the Ridgeview subdivision to Finley Lane, eventually ending at Sunset Elementary school.
The city is looking at different ways to acquire the necessary land from the private landowners for construction of the trail.
“We’re looking at everything from outright purchase to donation, and everything in between lease proposals, easements, a variety of things,” Pike said. “There is a wide array of choices. We want to make this as palatable as possible to the landowners.”
For the most part, the trail will require a minimum of 25 feet. A few areas will require more, depending on topography, Pike said.
“We’ve been working on these accesses for two years,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll finish the negotiations over the next few months. Our plan is to have Bill Early set up the specs over the winter, and bid the project in the spring.
“This will be the beginning of the trail system the master plan talks about it’ll get the ball rolling.”
The Ridgeview trail will be a major asset to the community, especially Ridgeview residents, said Corrie Scott, advisory board member.
“This trail ties them into the rest of the community in a safe way,” Scott said. “So many people who work or ride bikes from Ridgeview have to go on the main highway to get to Safeway or the mall or just get into town. This trail would allow people to get from the Ridgeview community in a safe manner, especially the children.”
The memorial bench program will allow residents to place a bench in any of the city’s parks to commemorate a loved one or event. The package will provide the bench, a plaque with up to 50 words, the engraving of the plaque, instillation, maintenance and upkeep. The benches will cost approximately $1,100 to $1,400, and there will be three bench designs to choose from. Final approval of the project is necessary from the city, which is expected, and the board unanimously supports the idea, Pike said.
“We’ve had three requests already,” he said. “Those packages will be sent out on Nov. 28. Unless there is a big problem, we’re ready to roll on it right now. The paperwork is available at the Parks and Rec office.”
The board also reviewed the 2002 budget and the rate increases that will become effective in that budget cycle.
“The pool rate will go up about 50 cents per visit, and season passes will go up 15 percent,” Pike said. “These increases are necessary so we can keep up with the times. Our utility bill has doubled in ’99, we paid $15,000 for utilities; in ’01, we’re anticipating spending $30,000 for utilities. On top of that, our programs have increased, and we’ve also budgeted a $1 pay hike for the lifeguards.
“We’ve been on the low end for Parks and Rec fees compared to every other community we’ve looked at. Even with these increases, our fees will be average or lower than similar communities,” Pike said.