City moves forward with biking/walking trail proposal

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The City of Jonesboro is moving forward to secure funding for a biking and walking trail between Arkansas State University and Downtown despite a setback earlier this week.

Mayor Harold Perrin called a special city council meeting at noon Friday so they could discuss the proposal before the grant application deadline of May 1.

The council did pass a resolution to apply for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Administration's transportation alternatives grant.

A connecting trail between A-State and Downtown is estimated to cost $499,000.

This grant would be for $500,000 with the city providing 20% of that. So, Jonesboro would pay $100,000 for the connector.

At the committee meeting earlier this week, there was concern that the chosen route on this grant proposal did not fit with A-State's master plan.

Mayor Perrin said Friday that those members didn't understand that it could be changed though and that misunderstanding has been fixed.

"The people understood that this is a concept drawing, it is not set in stone," Perrin said. "And what we're trying to say is that we need to get it down to Little Rock and if we get approved we'll be able to come back and before we do the exact route then obviously we're going to have to get a lot of players involved including Arkansas State University."

A letter from A-State's Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Dr. Len Frey was read at the council meeting.

He said while they have no memorandum of understanding about the specific route yet, the university does support connectivity to Downtown.

"We appreciate the support and your interest in better connecting the university to the Downtown district," the letter stated. "We look forward to working with you to continue to enhance the quality of life for students of Arkansas State University and residents of Jonesboro."

Mayor Perrin said he plans to meet with the Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch next week in Little Rock to discuss this trail.

The vote to pass the resolution was unanimous.

Perrin said they won't know if they got the grant money until around September or October.

During the meeting, Alderman David McClain did voice his concern that he doesn't see a serious plan from the city of Jonesboro to connect all of these trails in one big project.

Perrin said he does have a master plan proposal on his desk now.

"I sent that to the highway department," Perrin said. "The highway department had some recommendations to change that and I've sent that back to the engineering firm that gave that proposal to me. So, we'll see how it comes from there but I'm not going to bring it to the council until I know how I can pay for it as well as making those changes."

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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