By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A federal grant will fund construction of a new multi-use trail on Garth Brooks Boulevard between Main Street and Vandament.
Construction is expected to begin this year on the trail, which will encourage Yukon residents to safely walk and ride their bicycles.
The new trail will connect with the existing sidewalk at the north entrance to Mollie Spencer Farm and stretch all the way to State Highway 66 on the east side of Garth Brooks Boulevard.
The Garth Brooks Trail will be six feet wide.
The City of Yukon was awarded a $720,000 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant through the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments.
“This grant is important to our community,” Mayor Mike McEachern said. “It will extend the sidewalk to give people the ability to walk and ride bikes in that area. Recently, we put in a sidewalk in front of the Mollie Spencer Farm which allows people to walk from the Vandament/Garth Brooks Boulevard intersection to the Yukon Middle School.
“This grant for the Garth Brooks Trail will allow us to extend that all the way to State Highway 66 … it will provide a link all the way down. That’s really a good thing, and it’s in our best interests.”
The new concrete trail will provide a real safety benefit, Yukon’s mayor says.
“We’ll no longer have people in the street walking and biking,” he said. “A lot of kids get out of school and walk through people’s yards on Garth Brooks Boulevard toward Highway 66. With this new trail, they won’t have to anymore.”
Besides the safety benefits, McEachern believes this new infrastructure will help promote historic Route 66 by encouraging more foot and bicycle traffic in downtown Yukon. For several years, the City of Yukon has sponsored Main Street revitalization efforts.
The Garth Brooks Trail will be funded with a matching grant, with 80 percent of the project covered by federal dollars.
“The City of Yukon will have to pay the other 20 percent, or $120,000,” grant writer Claudia Krshka said.
Lee Engineering is the project engineer for the City of Yukon’s newest trail project.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) still must complete environmental studies before the City of Yukon can start right-of-way acquisition, Krshka said.
Bids will be solicited before a contractor is hired to construct the Garth Brooks Trail.
The City of Yukon recently completed another grant-funded, multi-use trail between Dickenson Park at First and Poplar to Yukon’s east edge on Lakeshore Drive.
The ongoing Yukon Master Trails Program is designed to improve public health and safety while enhancing bike and pedestrian traffic.
“We’re trying to get trails that provide access for everybody, all across the City,” Krshka said.
The future Garth Brooks Trail – and other multi-use trails already part of the program – will allow people to “flow around the city more easily,” Mayor McEachern added.