Trail grant next piece for Humboldt puzzle

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Local News

November 12, 2019 - 10:12 AM

HUMBOLDT ?  About three years ago, a group of biking enthusiasts unsuccessfully appealed to the Humboldt City Council to have a bike lane added to Ninth Street.

The Council voted down the request, in part because of safety concerns centered on having bicycles share road space with the large volume of trucks that pass through Humboldt on a daily basis.

Count Beth Barlow and Tony Works among those who were disappointed, but still encouraged.

?What it showed was the community obviously wanted the ability to walk and bike into town,? Barlow said. ?The Council just didn?t think (the lane) was safe enough.?

?The problem was, it wasn?t a path,? Works agreed. 

Fast forward to last week, when the community learned that a new bike lane ? better described as a shared use path ? will become reality, courtesy of a $1.08 million Kansas Department of Transportation grant.

A Bolder Humboldt, a local non-profit dedicated to improving the community, secured the monumental grant.

Barlow and Works are siblings ? the grown children of Joe and Janie Works ? and among the founders of A Bolder Humboldt.

?This popped up at the right time and the right way, and we were ready for it,? Works said.

THE KDOT grant, which required a 20% local match, came together quickly. The group heard about the opportunity in early September. By Oct. 1, the application had been filed.

The grant will fund ?The Last Mile,? the name given to the mile-long, 8-foot-wide trail, connecting the Southwind Rail Trail to downtown Humboldt.

The trail will follow Hawaii Road to Ninth, then north to downtown Humboldt. It likely will replace some older stretches of sidewalk, but most will require a new path.

 

Construction of cabins like this one is expected to begin this month on 20 acres of land near the Southwind Rail Trailhead at the edge of Humboldt. COURTESY OF BETH BARLOW

 

With the funding approved, the group?s next step is to get an engineer?s study to determine how the trail should be built, and how users can safely make it past the intersection of Ninth Street and Hawaii Road, one of Humboldt?s busiest traffic areas.

There?s a lot still to be decided, Works and Barlow noted.

A portion of the funding also will be for construction of a 60-space parking lot near the Southwind Trailhead, linking the path to 20 acres between the trail and Mount Hope Cemetery.

The vision is to convert the land into a full-scale recreation area, complete with a 1.5-acre lake with cabins and a boat dock and additional pedestrian and bicycle trails.

Construction of the first cabin is expected to begin this month.

 

BARLOW and Works described the new trail as the next component at what best could be described as Humboldt?s downtown renaissance.

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