WATCH: City seeks funding for Stokes Greenway Trail

Motorists drive across the King Expressway bridge spanning McLeod Street and Stokes Creek Tuesday. The city said Phase 2 of the Stokes Creek Greenway will go from Kimery Lane to Lakeshore Drive, where the creek empties into Lake Hamilton. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

A $240,000 federal grant the city is seeking would provide 80% of the funding for Phase 1 of the 4-mile Stokes Creek Greenway, which would eventually connect to the Hot Springs Creek Greenway near Hollywood Park.

A resolution authorizing the city to apply for and accept the Transportation Alternatives Program grant was on the Hot Springs Board of Directors' consent agenda Tuesday night. The $303,000 project would build a three-eighths of a mile segment from Kimery Lane to Richard Street, with the leg following a tributary that branches off from Stokes Creek south of the McLeod and Leonard streets intersection.

The grant requires a 20% match, or $60,000, from the city that would be paid from the grant match line item in the Complete Streets subfund of the city's Highway Tax Fund. The city said the grant has a June 1 application deadline.

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Parks and Trails Director Anthony Whittington told the board last week the city owns most of the right of way for Phase 1, save for a small piece west of the Leonard and Richard streets intersection. Friends of the Park, the nonprofit dedicated to the development and stewardship of the city's public parks, is helping the city acquire the outstanding right of way piece, Whittington said.

He said Phase 2 would likely go south from Kimery Lane to Lakeshore Drive, where Stokes Creek empties into Lake Hamilton. Subsequent phases would take the trail northeast, connecting it to the Hot Springs Creek Greenway near Hollywood Park. Whittington told the board the city plans to complete the trail by 2026.

"It will start in the Lakeshore area around (Young's Lakeshore RV Resort), and it will go diagonally through town," he said.

Whittington told the board funding is in place to build the southern leg of the Hot Springs Creek Greenway, taking the trail from its current southern terminus 850 feet south of the Golf Links Road bridge to the 2.09-acre parcel that will be the site of the Jean Wallace Wetlands Trailhead Park north of TV Hill Road and Tatum Street.

Whittington told the board funding is also in place to build the park. The city plans to solicit bids for the two projects later this year. A pair of $500,000 TAP grants the city was awarded will help with the funding. Whittington said construction of the trailhead will probably precede construction of the southern leg.

"We'll more than likely build the trailhead before the actual trail is built," he said. "Which is an advantage, because the circle trailhead at TV Hill, with that in place, we'll know exactly how the trail will come in and come around the trailhead."

The city has said the trailhead project includes an 80-foot pedestrian bridge that will span the creek and connect TV Hill to Tatum Road. The board adopted an ordinance in 2019 that extended the Tatum Street right of way to the trailhead site.

The trail will traverse more than 4 miles when it's completed, connecting Transportation Depot to the mouth of the Hot Springs Creek Basin of Lake Hamilton. Whittington told the board acquiring right of way between TV Hill and the creek mouth has been difficult.

"Our goal is to get to San Carlos Point off of Buena Vista Road," he said. "We'd go under the (King Expressway) bridge and come out on the lake. But for right now (TV Hill) is as far as we can go."