Legacy Trails, the first planned regional hike and bike trail, is now a reality after grant funding was approved on Thursday.
The Texas Transportation Commission voted to award the city of Tyler more than $3.5 million in grant funds for the construction of a multi-use trail that eventually will extend from Grande Boulevard to Gresham, according to the city. The city will match $1.6 million for the project, which will come from half-cent sales tax monies.
The Tyler City Council approved a resolution in support of applying for a federal Transportation Alternative Program grant for the project in April.
Phase I of The Legacy Trail will start at Three Lakes Parkway and incorporate sections of Old Jacksonville Highway southward to Gresham. The trail will go down an out-of-use railroad bed owned by TxDOT that was once used to connect Tyler to Bullard. The Trail also will go along the new section of Cumberland Road northward to Three Lakes Parkway. Future phases will extend the 10-foot-wide concrete trail from Three Lakes Parkway northward to West Grande Boulevard. The rail corridor goes all the way to Bullard, and there is potential for some type of future trail system to extend all the way to Bullard.
Tyler Simpson, a longtime cyclist and owner of Simpson’s Fitness Adventure and Sports, said the trail system would benefit recreational riders and commuters the most. “It is going to tie the southern retail district in south Broadway all the way to the old Jacksonville district and Gresham, and it has the potential to go beyond that to Bullard possibly,” Simpson said. “It will be a great connector. If (cyclists) are shopping and want to do it on bike (or) they can now ride to work. That’s who it will accommodate the best – the recreational rider and the commuter.” Tyler leaders and the bicycling community thanked Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin for help in getting approval for the project. “I am very pleased that we were able to award Tyler these funds that will result in the first regional trail project in East Texas,” Austin said in a news release.