Park Board Discusses Trail Master Plan

Park Board Discusses Trail Master Plan
Citizens appeared before the Park Board on Monday night to further express their opinions regarding the Trail Master Plan

The Broken Bow Park Board met on Monday evening to approve the July meeting minutes and then take feedback from the public regarding the Trail Master Plan. A vote was not taken because updated pricing has not yet been identified.

City Administrator Brent Clark reiterated that the plan is currently “colored lines on a map.” Pricing and engineering specifics of a trail would be further investigated when/if a proposed route is approved. Park Board Chairman Lindsay Divan said feedback from the July meeting was taken into consideration.

“The leadership group who came up with the master trail plan, they met and they revised the trail plan. Like I said, they tried to take in everyone’s comments, I know we’re not going to make everybody happy, but they did revise the plan,” Divan said.

The trail master plan is currently divided into six phases of a conceptual trail and sidewalk improvements throughout Broken Bow. Logistics of trail engineering obstacles, individual property owner concerns, and trail maintenance issues have not been laid out at this time because the board is still collecting feedback regarding the map. According to the original plan, “trail segments in any of the phases are permissible to be implemented depending upon development and funding opportunities.”

If a plan is approved by the park board, it would then be presented to City Council and if approved, the city would then begin applying for federal grants which is estimated to make up 90% of the funds needed to complete the long-term project. Any construction would not begin for several years.

The City Council chambers were filled with community members who wanted to further express their opinions on Monday night. Many citizens echoed the opinion that a trail should not encroach on residential property, even if within the city right of way. Many spoke out against having a trail too close to their homes, especially outside of city limits. The revised trail map showed a trail going to Kinkaider but that proposed route has been removed according to Clark.

Bill Steffens praised the board for hosting meetings and allowing public feedback, but also asked the board to simplify the plan and start with one piece at a time and start now.

“My question is this: why are we approaching this as a big behemoth plan that has to be locked into place for all these years. Instead, why not pick a trail—I keep hearing the Muddy Creek trail mentioned again and again, lack of privacy issues, nice area for a trail, etc.—why not start with one trail like that?” Steffens asked.

Other concerns expressed included snow removal and drainage issues, crime prevention, cost of materials used, simplifying the plan, and a desire for a YMCA or community center.

To conclude the park board meeting, Park Superintendent Darren Marten gave an update about the Indian Hills Park: dirt is currently being brought in and this project is likely to continue into the winter. The official last day for the city pool is August 12 but it will be open on August 19 during the weekend of Eclipse activities.