Map: Todd Gill
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned to celebrate the completion of Niokaska Creek Trail at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5.
The event will take place on the east side of Gulley Park where the trail enters the park. COVID-19 health and safety precautions will be in place, according to a news release.
The new, three-mile trail connects Gulley Park to the Razorback Greenway via Mud Creek Trail near Old Missouri Road.
The project is considered a major milestone for the city’s longterm trail plans, as officials have estimated that 4,000 more residents are now within a quarter mile of the trail system.
From Gulley Park, the trail travels northeast alongside Niokaska Creek towards Crossover Road. From there, it leads under Old Wire Road at the intersection of Crossover, and continues north with the creek through Sweetbriar Park before heading west on a path on the north side of Sweetbriar Drive to connect with Mud Creek Trail at Old Missouri Road about a half mile north of Butterfield Trail Elementary.
The project began in May 2018 when crews added a side path along Sweetbriar Drive between Old Missouri and Sweetbriar Park.
Another major obstacle was cleared last November when a 100-foot-long trail bridge was installed over Niokaska Creek just north of the intersection of Crossover and Old Wire.
The final stretch was completed when crews paved a path through the wooded area adjacent to Fayetteville Fire Station No. 5 to the neighborhood along Azalea Terrace. From there, the trail crosses Azalea and connects to the park.
The project also included updating the narrow, aging asphalt trail within Gulley Park. The new eight-foot concrete trails add up to one mile within the park. Lighting will soon be included along those trails as well.
The Old Wire Road section of the trail, which was completed in late 2019, includes the first fully protected two-way cycle track in the region. The trail is separated from the road by a stamped concrete buffer and light poles and has a separate sidewalk for pedestrians. The project also includes the first bicycle-specific signal, located at Township Street.
Officials said since the cycle track opened, more than 40,000 people have used the trail, with an average of 150 users per day.
From the city:
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is taking a scaled-back approach to this ribbon-cutting ceremony. Face coverings and social distancing will be required, and masks will be available free of charge for any attendee who does not have one. A limited number of speakers and officiants will participate in the ceremony, which is anticipated to last no more than 20 minutes. This event will take place outdoors near a wooded area, so attendees are advised to dress accordingly and wear sturdy shoes. A short walk across uneven ground is needed to reach the trailside event location from the parking lot off Township Street. Members of the media carrying recording equipment and attendees with mobility considerations may wish to park on E. Country Way to shorten this distance and remain on paved surfaces. Attendees are encouraged to use the new trail for an enjoyable way to access the event.