Residents tour proposed Frisco Trail extension route

Trails coordinator Matt Mihalevich led residents through areas of thick brush just south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard during a trail tour Monday evening.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Nearly 40 people stood on Frisco Trail Monday evening to get a closer look at an upcoming trail project in south Fayetteville.

City staff placed map boards alongside the trail and answered questions related to the planned half-mile extension that will connect Frisco Trail to Walker Park.

Following the brief discussion, trails coordinator Matt Mihalevich led a walking tour of the proposed route which took the group through parking lots, areas of thick brush and a construction site near School Avenue that will soon be home to a student housing complex called The Grove.

Students, Mihalevich said, are part of the reason this new section of trail is so important. Besides passing through The Grove, the extension will also connect to the upcoming Tsa La Gi Trail which will pass through two other student complexes – Hill Place and a planned complex at the old Love Box property on Beechwood Avenue.

“We really want to try and hook those students up,” said Mihalevich. “So we really feel like the timing is critical to get this connection made.”

The project, while only covering a half mile, won’t come without challenges.

“It doesn’t seem long, but there’s a lot involved,” said Mihalevich. “There are two pretty busy state highways to cross so we want to do that in the most responsible and safest way.”

A tunnel will likely be built under Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but a different approach is proposed at School Avenue.

Mihalevich said 2010 data from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department showed nearly twice as much traffic on MLK than at the School Avenue crossing. That data, combined with the added cost of building a bridge (about $800,000), will likely result in the use of a pedestrian hybrid beacon crossing.

If all goes according to plan, the entire project could be completed with no cost to the city. Grants from The Home Depot Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation will cover the design, while construction is expected to be covered by the Walton Family Foundation as part of the Razorback Regional Greenway, a planned 36-mile trail system that will stretch from south Fayetteville to Bella Vista.

Construction of the Frisco Trail extension will likely begin early next year.

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