TOPEKA, KAN. – A major milestone in trail connectivity in Shawnee County will be announced during a ribbon cutting set for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 1. The ceremony will take place in Dornwood Park and will include a bicycle ride and a ground breaking for the final stretch of trail needed to connect Shawnee County’s trail system across the community.
The Deer Creek Trail extension from SE 10th Street to SE 25th Street in Dornwood Park is now complete, leaving just .66 miles of trail to construct through Robinson Family Park down to SE 29th Street. Once the last section is completed, bicyclists will be able to ride from SW 29th and McClure, up the 8.5-mile Shunga Trail to the Deer Creek Trail, 4.36 miles south to SE 29th Street and then east to Lake Shawnee where they can ride the 7-mile Lake Shawnee Trail. With the short stretch downhill on SE 29th to Lake Shawnee, the total distance is slightly more than 20 miles.
“Trail connectivity is a key part of our Master Plan for Shawnee County Parks + Recreation,” said Tim Laurent, SCP+R director. “This is not only a milestone for connecting our trails, but it’s a milestone for quality of life in Shawnee County.”
Laurent adds that businesses and families want to locate in a community that has good parks and a good trail system. Such amenities also help keep residents and businesses in a community.
Shawnee County commissioners Aaron Mays, Kevin Cook and Bill Riphahn, and SCP+R officials will deliver remarks and then cut the ribbon. Then members of the Kaw Valley Bicycle Club and Topeka Community Cycle Project will ride down the new stretch of trail. Afterward, county officials will do a ceremonial groundbreaking to indicate the start of construction of the final .66 miles of trail.
The project was funded by a Transportation Alternatives Grant from the State of Kansas along with a county match and the work was led by the Kansas Department of Transportation as the new section of trail passes beneath I-70. Bettis Construction was the contractor and Cook, Flatt and Strobel provided the engineering services.
A second Transportation Alternatives grant has been awarded for the final .66 miles of trail through Robinson Family Park to connect to SE 29th Street. Design of the final leg of trail is complete. A contract has been awarded for the project which is now in the scheduling stage.
Shawnee County Parks + Recreation includes nearly 60 miles of trails, 2,696 acres of parks and 320 annual days of sporting activities. In addition, the department offers recreation programs, educational programs and golf. A combination of tax dollars, user fees and private donations enables Shawnee County Parks and Recreation to offer parks, sporting and aquatic facilities with state-of-the art features, and beautiful, nationally recognized gardens.