Officials with the City of Jonesboro joined state and federal dignitaries to cut the ribbon on a new park trail at Craighead Forest Park.
The three-year project was a combination of local, state, and federal funds designed to help with quality of life issues, as well as alternate modes of transportation. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the new walking trail goes around Craighead Forest Park and there are outdoor exercise equipment around parts of the trail. Perrin comments on the new trail.
“This 3.2-mile walking trail will double and even triple the attendance out here because this trail will be a safe place for people to walk and ride their bikes out here,” said Perrin.
The new trail is part of several improvements that are planned for the park. Tuesday night, the Jonesboro City Council agreed to a 455-thousand dollar purchase of 40 acres of land to expand the park to where the new shooting range will be located in Jonesboro.
“With the 19-acres from the shooting range and the 40-acres, there will be a lot of land to put additional features out here,”said Perrin. “We will have public meetings soon and what the public wants out here.”
The improvements at Craighead Forest Park were a mix of funds from the City of Jonesboro, as well as grant money from the Blue and You Foundation, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. Director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation Scott Bennett says these kinds of trails are part of the new modes of transportation that are requested by more people.
“There is a big increase in the number of cities that are asking for these kinds of alternative transportation, such as walking and hiking, as well as riding bikes,” said Bennett. “We are glad to be able to provide funds, when available, for these kinds of projects.”
He says requests for these kinds of trails are becoming more popular across the state, making the process very competitive:
“Every year, we have more applications than we do funds to fill every request for these kinds of trails, so the process is extremely competitive. This is because cities know these kinds of projects are quality of life and can be an attraction to more people.”
Scott Bennett. For KASU News, I'm Johnathan Reaves.