Work starts on walking trail

Contractors last week started work on a small section of a Las Vegas pedestrian trail, one of four ongoing projects that, when finished, will mean the city’s overall trail network is about 25 percent complete.

The recession, though, is having an effect even on this corner of the city’s public works. Most sections of trail are required to be built as part of new developments, but construction has slowed.

For other sections, one of the main funding sources is the sale of Bureau of Land Management property for development, and with the real estate market in shambles funding is expected to be a fraction of what it was from 2002 to 2006.

Las Vegas has plans for a 239-mile trail network connecting all parts of the city and the Red Rock Bike Trail — 194 miles for walking, biking and other nonmotorized activities, and 45 miles of equestrian trails. So far, 11 miles of equestrian trails and 45 miles of shared-use trails have been built.

Surveys conducted by the city found that residents consider trails an important quality-of-life factor, and that they’re useful for linking parks, outdoor recreation areas, commercial developments and neighborhoods.

In 2004, 76 percent of households participating in an open-space survey ranked multiuse trails as the amenity they wanted most, slightly ahead of natural areas and small neighborhood parks.

The latest project to get started is the Desert Nature Preserve Trail, which will start on Hualapai Way near Town Center Drive and extend east for half a mile next to the Tournament Players Club at the Canyons.

The budget is $3 million for a 10-foot-wide trail, landscaping, rest areas, benches, lighting, trash cans and pet waste stations. Construction is expected to last six months.

The other three projects under construction are:

• Phase one of the Las Vegas Wash corridor, which started May 18 and is expected to be complete toward the middle of next year.

The $2.1 million section being worked on starts near Stewart Avenue between Marion Drive and Nellis Boulevard.

From there, the trail will follow the wash north across Bonanza Road and Washington Avenue, veer west to pass Lamb Boulevard and then turn north to Owens Avenue.

It will connect with the already complete Cedar Drainage trail, which goes to Pecos Road.

• The Bonanza Trail, which will connect Bill Briare Park to the Kellogg-Zaher Sports Complex to the west. Work started in January and is scheduled to be finished in October.

This project, budgeted at $7.9 million, includes the construction of a bridge over Summerlin Parkway at Tenaya Way and other street improvements.

• The Rampart Trail and the Angel Park Trailhead. They are part of a three-phase project that will run south along Durango Drive from Bruce Trent Park to Angel Park, then continue west next to Angel Park Golf Course to Alta. The budget is $4 million.

The funding for these trails comes from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which sets aside some of the proceeds from BLM land sales for education, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and an account that issues grants for capital improvements, conservation projects, and parks and trails.

So far, Las Vegas has been allocated almost $92 million for trail, trailhead and pedestrian bridge projects, according to a database maintained by the BLM. That’s just part of the $292.8 million the city has been granted for all qualifying projects from 1998 to 2008, but that kind of funding isn’t expected in the future.

In the next fiscal year, available funding is expected to be $250,000 per applicant.

The city doesn’t have a target date for completing the trails system, said Flinn Fagg, Las Vegas’ planning manager. While the BLM sales have been a source for funding, the city will continue to seek other ways to complete the plan.

"You’re looking at a multiyear plan, and certainly that will be an important focus for us as we look at future trail developments," he said.

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate @reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

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