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Heritage Trail construction to begin this summer
A map shows the path of the first phase of Mesquite's Heritage Trail. The city of Mesquite is in the final design portion of Phase I of its Heritage Trail project. The city hopes to begin construction this summer. - Image courtesy of the city of Mesquite
By Kenny Green, email@example.com
The city of Mesquite is planning to start construction on the first phase of its Mesquite Heritage Trail project this summer. The project will involve creating the spine for a hike-and-bike trail that will span the city. Dallas County recently indicated it had funds available to assist with a second phase of the trail.
The first phase is currently in the latter stages of the design phase and the city anticipates putting the project out for bid in April. If things go as planned, the city will begin construction in late May.
"We hope to have construction started by the beginning of the summer," said Lauren Miller, city of Mesquite park planner.
The city was recently informed that Dallas County would have funds available to partner with Mesquite to build the second phase of the project. The second phase will connect the first phase of the trail to an existing trail near DeBusk Park, which was the last trail project the city and county partnered to build.
"Dallas County has funds to help the city of Mesquite develop the Heritage Trail Phase II, which picks up at the west side of the Town Center bridge where Phase I leaves off," Miller said. "The county has funds they allocate to municipalities to develop the Dallas County Trail System, which we are part of. We submitted our plans as part of the county trails plan, and when funds become available they allocate them to projects that are part of that plan."
The second phase is 1.1 miles in length and will begin at the town center bridge and follow the existing walkway to the Mesquite Greenbelt, where it will pass under all of the bridges along U.S. 80 before connecting with the existing trail near the Kids Quest playground at DeBusk Park.
"Phase II was originally going to target another crosstown corridor, but when the county saw we needed to expand Phase I to make the connection to the existing trail near DeBusk, they were in favor of funding that," Miller said. "The county commissioners will decide whether to approve the allocation to the city of Mesquite. Then the city will be responsible for coming up with the design. The county will then approve the design and they will administer the construction contract. The trail is extremely important to the city and county."
The county will fund $2.5 million of the project. The city has set aside $640,000 in tax increment financing funds for Phase II. Phase I is completely funded through an 80/20 match as part of funds made available from the construction of U.S. 121.
Miller said that the city would like to continue to expand the spine of the trail system as part of Phase III of the project, which has yet to begin the planning process.
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