MOUNDRIDGE — The city of Moundridge was awarded a $70,000 grant this March to implement a recreational trail that will surround Wheatridge Park from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.

“We did our strategic planning in 2013 for walking trails and outdoor recreation and those were the things that citizens wanted to see more of. The department had a grant open up about a year ago so we thought this would be an opportune time to apply and see if we could get some funding to extend our walking trails,” Randy Frazer, Moundridge’s city administrator, said.

While the department is paying up to 80 percent of costs, the city is coming up with the other 20 percent.

“In our park budget, we set aside dollars for capital improvements in our parks — so the 20 percent will come out of our yearly park budget,” Frazer said.

Frazer and staff also saw the need for another trail to be placed in Marquette, as there is only one on the north side of town.

“It would provide some additional activities for residents on the opposite side of town,” he said.

While the size of the Wheatridge Park trail is uncertain, because the city received less than they applied for, Frazer said they still have a definite vision for it.

“... We’ll narrow it down and we’ll cut it in half ­— we’ll either do the outside or inner loop at Wheatridge Park, so we’ll have to decide what the money allows us to do,” he said.

“We are also still uncertain when construction will begin, but we’re hoping in the next couple of months or sometime in the summer to get going on that.”

The plan is to connect the city’s sidewalk system and a large walking and bicycle path.

“We conducted a master sidewalk study for our community to identify areas that were lacking... With that plan, we identified this area (Wheatridge Park) as an area that was lacking walking trails,” Frazer said. “Before, bicyclists had access to streets and some sidewalks, but this trail will provide access through the park to the swimming pool.”

Frazer also said the trail will be a part of Moundridge High School’s Outdoor Wildlife Laboratory project, which is south of the football field.

As details continue to get sorted out, Frazer and his staff said they are excited to add this new trail to Moundridge.

“It offers our community improved quality of life ... just by getting out and enjoying nature and the outdoors while doing it safely. To me it’s a great project that we’re also getting funds for it,” he said.

For more information, call the city of Moundridge at (620) 345-8246. 

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.