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With $4.5 Mil in Grant Money from TxDOT, the Trinity Strand Trail is a Little Closer to Reality

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Speaking of tomorrow's Park and Rec Board agenda ...

Tomorrow, they're all set to formally accept a $4.5 million grant that will go toward constructing Phase One of the Trinity Strand Trail -- which, you may recall, will one day hook up with the Katy Trail. But that day's a long way off, says Michael Hellman, the Park and Rec's manager of park planning and acquisitions, who today tells Unfair Park that there's still a small but significant chunk of land the city needs to acquire before it can actually start work on the Trinity Strand Trail, much less the connector to the Katy. But it's a start.

The grant money, not so incidentally, comes from the Texas Department of Transportation via the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which sorted through the applications and landed on the Trinity Strand. TxDOT got the money for the project last year, when State Highway 121 became the property of the North Texas Tollway Authority. The NTTA paid $3.2 billion in upfront money earmarked for other regional transportation projects; the Trinity Strand qualified. The city, using 2006 bond money, will match to the tune of $1.1 million.

After the Park Board OK's the agreement, it'll go to council, most likely in October; and once the design of the trail's wrapped up "within a couple of month," Hellman says, bids will go out for a contractor. But, remember, there are still properties to snare -- and $5.6-plus million won't cover the whole cost of the project.

"The Friends of the Trinity Strand Trail are working with several property owners to get some right-away to accommodate the trail," he says. "We can't build it without owning some of the property. Still, it's exciting. But what'll be really exciting is if we can get the money to connect Trinity Strand Trail to the Katy Trail next to Goat Hill. That'll be an expensive project, but it's pretty extensive. And, right now, we don't know where the money would come from: We're applying from stimulus money, it could be in a bond program. But since there's no money for it now, we'll look at all options."

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