City works on master plan for safe walkways

Batesville looking to add bike trail

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The city of Batesville is hoping to connect points of interest in the town with walking trails.

The Parks and Recreation Department is working on a master plan to create a large walking and biking trail throughout the city.

"We want to connect all of our places of interest such as public schools, parks, our new community center, hospitals and connect all those places together so people who need or want the trails have a place to go," Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Owens said.

Owens said there are people who cannot get to certain places due to poor transportation, so this will help them.

"The plan is to start giving people who do not have a vehicle for transportation or people who want to engage in alternative transportation methods or just get out for health a safe place they can get out for these activities," Owens said.

Owens said there are currently more than 100 people who use the walking trails near the park and hospital, so this will just expand those trails to other locations.

"We want to connect commerce, recreation, education and health care," Owens said.

The Arkansas Department of Health has provided a grant to help develop this master plan.

The first phase of the plan is to get the public's input on what they want and develop a rough draft based on those ideas.

"To get a comprehensive plan we have to get the voice of the people so we can serve their needs, not just want we think their needs are," Owens said.

The first public input meeting was held Thursday and there are two more planned.

This phase of the project will wrap up by the summer and then phase two, which is finalizing the plan, will start in the fall.

After the master plan is complete, the city must find funding for the project before the construction can start.

Owens said they will most likely fund the project through grants and private donations.

He said they must have the plan in place before they can apply for grant money, though.

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