City Plans Renovation To Trail

OFFICIALS MOVING FORWARD TO ADD ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHTS TO WILSON PARK

— The bends and curves along the popular Wilson Park Trail will be getting a little brighter.

But before that happens, the trail will first disappear one section at a time.

AT A GLANCE

Wilson Park Trail Project

City officials opened bids Wednesday for renovating the trail at Wilson Park. The low bid came from Danny Robinson Construction of Garfield at $394,450.

Source: City of Fayetteville

City park officials are moving forward with a project to add 53 energy-efficient lights to the 0.9-mile trail circling the park, said Alison Jumper, Fayetteville’s park planning superintendent. Before that happens, however, the existing 14-year-old asphalt trail will be removed and replaced with a 6-foot concrete path similar to other trails around the city.

The trail will be removed and rebuilt in 100 or 150 foot sections, said Jumper. The idea is to reduce the potential for erosion and minimize the inconvenience for the thousands of people who use the trail. The project is to begin in September and last about six months.

“The trail lights are the same style as the LED lights being added to the Scull Creek Trail,” Jumper said.

The project is part of the park system’s capital improvement plan and will be paid through dedicated park money, as well as money collected through the city’s hotel-motel-restaurant tax. Restaurants and lodging establishments collect a 2 percent HMR tax, with 1 percent going to the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Division and 1 percent going to the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

By all estimates, Wilson Park — formerly known as City Park — is well attended. The 21.5-acre park has Fayetteville’s only city-run swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, a softball field and countless areas for picnicking, sunbathing and whatever other recreational pastimes Fayetteville residents tend to come up with. A user survey taken Feb. 27 to March 27, 2008, showed an average of 576 people a day using the park, Jumper said.

“This is sorely needed with the heavy use of the park and the trail,” said Kyle Cook, an alderman whose ward includes the Wilson Park neighborhood. Additional lighting has been discussed for some time, Cook added.

“The tennis court lights are usually on until the park closes, and this is mainly for safety reasons,” Cook said. “A lighted trail will increase the safety in and around the park.”

Popular parks and trails are generally wired for lighting that is added as funding becomes available, said Matt Mihalevich, Fayetteville’s trails coordinator. The cost of installing the kind of lighting found on the Scull Creek Trail adds about $36.50 to each linear foot of trail construction, Jumper said.

Just how much it costs to build a trail varies, said Mihalevich, because of the varying cost of land acquisition and engineering costs like bridges. But as a rule of thumb, $75 per linear foot seems to work, he noted.

A U.S. Department of Energy grant helped pay for 33 trail lights for the Frisco Trail between Maple and Cleveland streets, said John Coleman, Fayetteville’s sustainability coordinator. And 25 lights will also be added to the new section of Frisco under construction from Spring to Maple streets, Mihalevich said.

“With the new lights we will add in the next couple of months, we will have continuous trail lighting from Prairie (Street) to the north side of the Fulbright Expressway (tunnel,)” Mihalevich said.

“When new lights go in, we generally use LED to help save on utility costs,” he added.

LED refers to light-emitting diode, a device that produces light for lesser costs and for longer periods than incandescent lighting.

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