Expanding the Tulsa's trail system

Friday, July 25th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The sales tax increase that will be before Tulsa County voters includes a long list of items. It includes money to expand the city's trail system.

If the measure is approved by voters in September, the Vision package will set aside nearly $5-million for trail improvements. News on 6 anchor Craig Day reports.

John Petrig runs at least five days a week. He enjoys using Tulsa's trail system. "In Tulsa, you have great weather ten or eleven months out of the year, so it is being used constantly. If they expanded it, it would be a benefit." Petrig and other folks who enjoy the trails could soon have more options if the sales tax proposal passes.

One million dollars would be used for the Midland Valley downtown extension. It would run from around 18th and Boston, north to Third Street, and would end up near Greenwood and Archer. "It will cross right at the bottom of that hill, right at where the fence ends." Gary Hamer is an avid runner and supporter of the proposal.

Hamer says the trail extension would provide access between residential living downtown and shopping and restaurants along Cherry Street. Supporters say extending trails would be a big benefit for outlying communities too. There are also plans for the Osage Trail, which would head north from Tulsa, to take outdoor enthusiasts out of the city.

The Osage Trail would stretch along 35 miles of rail line. The sales tax increase would pay for ten miles of it from 56th street to Skiatook. Gary Hamer, Vision tax supporter, "I think it is huge. I think that is one thing we've got over a lot of other cities our size is that we have got an excellent trail system now. I think it is better than, or as good as, any other city in the Midwest."

If the Vision proposal passes, surveying and design work will take about six months. Construction would likely begin in the summer of 2004 and the trails would be open in the summer of 2005.