(Seguin) -- Funding is being put into place for a major project that will allow the city's Walnut Springs Trail to be expanded all the way to Max Starcke Park. The Seguin City Council Tuesday approved an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the trail expansion. The agreement will allow the city to begin expending some funds towards that project.
Parks Director Jack Jones says this is an exciting project for the city, and the advanced funding agreement helps them to keep it moving forward.
"This authorizes the funding from TXDOT for construction-only of the project. The city is responsible 100 percent for all engineering design and construction and administration, but this is related to construction-only. The total estimated cost of construction is about $2.7 million. Again, that's construction-only. TXDOT kicks in about $2.2 million, which is really nice. The city kicks in about half a million dollars, a little bit more than that. Once we get this agreement through TXDOT, we can start working on the project," said Jones.
The city is also working on funding to cover the engineering and design work that will have to take place before any of the construction work could begin. Jones says right now, it looks like the construction work could begin next year.
"Right now, the (project) let date they have for TXDOT is May of 2019. It could be earlier if we get the engineering done earlier. Right now it's scheduled for (completion) roughly summer of 2020, but again that can be bumped up if the project goes faster. There are a lot of challenges within the Walnut Branch, because the route of the trail is going to be on the west side of the Walnut Branch from the Convent Street bridge. There, I guess, right there behind the St. James Catholic Church and School. It goes south along the west side, go under the South Austin Street bridge, and connect to Max Starcke Park East to the Pecan Bottom Trail," said Jones.
Mayor Don Keil has been one of the biggest supporters of the trail expansion project. Once it's completed, the city will have a trail system that connects a large portion of the city. The trail currently starts near FM 78 and Walnut Creek. It travels alongside the creek all the way down to an area just south of the new public library in downtown Seguin. The existing creek connects a number of important locations in Seguin, including TLU, Park West, the Seguin Police Department, Walnut Springs Park and the Seguin Public Library.