Farmington council OKs Creekside trail design contract

FARMINGTON -- The city's plan to have a new paved biking and walking trail from Creekside Park to the Fayetteville city limits on Alberta Street continues to move forward.

Aaron Boehmler, senior civil engineer with Burns McDonnell of Springdale, said the firm is finished with the preliminary engineering plan and a park conceptual plan and is ready to start on the final trail design.

The Farmington City Council recently approved a contract with Burns McDonnell for the final design for $106,700.

The council on Feb. 14 awarded an initial contract for engineering services to Burns for $61,560 for the planning stage of the trail.

The city is proposing a 10-foot-wide trail that would start at the existing pedestrian crossing on Broyles Street at Creekside Park and extend about 0.65 miles to the city limits on the south side of West Alberta Street.

Boehmler said the firm estimates the trail construction will cost about $860,000. The budget includes another $323,000 for luminaires along the trail, associated electrical costs and landscaping for a total projected cost of almost $1.2 million.

Farmington has applied for two grants to help with the project, a $500,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation and a $250,000 grant from Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. The grants are from the Transportation Alternatives Program. Boehmler said the city should receive an answer on its applications in August or September.

Boehmler said he also is meeting with representatives of the Walton Family Foundation about possible funding to help with the trail construction.

"We want to paint the picture Farmington is on board to partner with the foundation," Boehmler told council members July 11.

The trail plan includes a trailhead and a new parking lot with 65 spaces located on the east side of Broyles. This parking lot would be available for those using the Farmington Disc Golf Course.

It also calls for another crosswalk on Broyles to connect to the proposed parking lot, along with the current crosswalk that would connect to the new trail. Boehmler said the firm recommends a push-button system for the pedestrian crossing because studies show such a system is safer than a continuous flashing light.

The "sad news," Boehmler said, is that Rausch Coleman had agreed to provide an easement for part of the trail connecting at Alberta Street, but the company is now selling that property. Boehmler said he will have to talk to the new owner about an easement for the project.

The final engineering design includes parking lot survey, parking lot design, final trail design, bidding services and construction observation, according to an email from Boehmler.

Other amenities in the conceptual plan for future phases at Creekside Park include two more basketball courts, four pickleball courts, an amphitheater phase, an accessible play area, a bike park and hammock spaces.

In other action, the council unanimously voted to extend a moratorium on any new requests to rezone property to multifamily residential for another six months. The council first placed a temporary six-month moratorium on such requests on July 12, 2021, and then extended it another six months Jan. 10. This does not affect any new multifamily developments that have been approved by Planning Commission.

The council voted 6-1 to vacate the unused right of way located at the corner of Hill Street and West Vine Street. Property owners adjacent to the vacated right of way will each receive one-half interest: Dande Properties #1 LLC and Mike Thompson. Thompson is the one who requested the city vacate the right of way.

Council member Diane Bryant voted against the ordinance, saying she did not think the council should give away city property without getting something in return. City business manager Melissa McCarville told her the land was platted as a street but the street was never built.

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