A local development group has donated a 100-foot wide strip of land and two right-of-way parcels for the creation of a public walking trail in Sherman.

The Sherman City Council recently accepted the conveyance of the land, which totals to more than nine acres, that is just south of Sherman’s Baker Park. SSCGC Holdings approached the city about donating the land for the proposed trail.

“It’s also adjacent to two developments that we’re currently reviewing the plans on,” Director of Engineering Clint Philpott said of SSCGC Holdings planned apartment complex and residential development. “Right now, it’s an electric easement. If accepted, it will be part of our trail system — part of that system that we’re trying to accomplish.”

After council member Willie Steele asked whether the land being donated was adjacent to West Moore Solar facility in the 900-2000 blocks of West Moore Street, SSCGC Holdings’ Bill Magers stepped up to explain the land will be the southern border of the solar farm. Earlier this year, West Moore Solar representatives said work on the facility is expected to be complete by December.

The Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission approved a zoning change for SSCGC Holdings in April for the Bluffs at Stone Creek in the 2600-2700 blocks of South U.S. Highway 75. The conceptual site plan submitted to the city by SSCGC Holdings, shows the Bluffs at Stone Creek could include a 406,091-square-foot assisted-living facility, an apartment complex on 17.388 acres, a multifamily facility on 3.679 acres and a separate section of residential homes.

“We’re going to get a benefit out of this as well because we have some land that abuts this — it’s just due west of Baker Lake and north of this,” Magers, who is the Grayson County judge, said. “We believe it’s going to add value to our development, we’ll be the only development in Sherman along a hike and bike trail, so it’s a win-win for us.”

City Manager Robby Hefton said Sherman has been working for a while to accumulate rights of way for a hiking and biking trail and other trails throughout the city.

“And this one is a perfect addition to that, really,” Hefton said. “As we work through our Parks (and Recreation) Master Plan and Trail Master Plan, using this trail to connect different parts of the city is going to be the idea.”

The addition of hiking and biking trails was one of the top concerns of the public during the city’s creation of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Among its hiking and biking trails work, Sherman is spending $30,000 on a lighting project for the Fairview Park walking path, $15,000 on a new bridge for the trail at Baker Park and $40,000 on planning and signage for the city’s bicycle trail plan. Hefton told the council earlier this year that city staff has addressed Sherman’s plans for a Bike and Trail Master Plan with the Texas Department of Transportation in relation to its planned work on U.S. Highway 75.

“This has been an issue in Sherman for years, trying to put a trail network together,” Magers said. “One of the frustrating things is there’s not a whole lot of power easements in Sherman. This particular easement crisscrosses from Moore (Street) west of (FM) 1417 and goes quite a ways. From this, you have north-south connectivity. What I would just tell the council is depending on what happens with Moore Road, with the high school going down there, our group would certainly consider dedicating right of ways.”

The new high school to be built by the Sherman Independent School District will be located at the northwest corner of the intersection of O.B. Groner Road and Moore Street. Local voters approved a $176 million bond package for Sherman ISD in November that included funds to build a new high school, for districtwide technology upgrades and for updates to the HVAC and energy management system at the current Sherman High School.

Magers said the city could get more land for the public trails from West Moore Solar, which has also been previously discussed by the council.

“I think that you’ll find the solar farm more than happy to consider their north-south connectivity,” Magers said. “We’ve had a conversation about that before and they were on board with that.”

Before the council unanimously approved the resolution to accept the land, council member Shawn Teamann, who has been a proponent of establishing a trail system in the city since joining the council, thanked Magers for the donation.

“I appreciate everything you’ve done to work on this,” Teamann said. “This is a great addition to the parks and I hope other developers will take your lead and do the same thing when they go in to develop.”