A small, unused piece of property acquired by the City of Lawrence when Fort Benjamin Harrison was decommissioned is no longer vacant. City officials are turning the area into a nature trail that connects with Lee Road Park.
The trail is being constructed of asphalt from milling projects around the city, dramatically reducing the cost to create the trail.
“We will lay down asphalt from milling projects around the city and use recycled materials to lay down the trail,” Lawrence Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Murphy said.
The trail is expected to be finished by fall, depending on the progress of milling projects.
“It’s coming from milling projects starting in August, so it will be phased with job sites and new paving,” Murphy said. “It will happen in harmony, depending on how quickly we get (the milling) done.”
The trail will have several loops, with the exterior perimeter loop spanning 0.6 miles. The interior loops will range from 0.2 to 0.4 miles. The overall length will be roughly 1 mile.
The only cost is the city’s time and labor.
“All the materials are just being pulled up off the street and repurposed,” Murphy said. “There’s no cost other than putting in a couple of trail amenities like signage and park benches and things like that.”
The trail will range from 6 to 8 feet wide. The shorter widths are to preserve mature trees in the area.
There will be two access points for the trail – one on Lee Road where the existing sidewalk is a dead end a few hundred feet north of 59th Street. The trail will connect to the dead-end sidewalk. The other access point will be inside Lee Road park near the baseball facilities.
“There will be signage there with the indications of the different trails and mapping within the trail itself,” Murphy said.
The City of Lawrence is examining if it can use milling projects to create other trails throughout the city for a low cost.