More than five years after plans began, Denison is ready to move forward with trail improvements to to the Waterloo Lake Regional Park trail system. City officials this week said they are preparing to release the proposed $300,000 project for bids in coming weeks.


The project will see a nearly one-third mile stretch of the trail system on the north side of the lake improved into a 12-foot wide trail that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other improvements to the park will include a new pedestrian bridge and a re-striping of the parking lot.


“The really cool part is that near the end, where the other trail head meets, there is going to be a fairly large area ... that allows for a turn around and that will be at a really cool part of Waterloo,” Denison Parks and Recreation Director Justin Eastwood said. “You will essentially look back up at the playground areas.”


The city first discussed the project in late 2014 when the council voted unanimously to move forward with a grant application with Texas Parks and Wildlife.


It was not until nearly four years later in late 2018 that the city heard back from TPW and was awarded a grant in support of the project.


The $200,000 grant required that the city provide a 20 percent match. However, in an effort to increase its odds at getting the grant, the city instead committed $100,000 to the project, for a total of $300,000 in funding.


North side of Waterloo, converting to a 12-foot concrete trail.


100k set aside, more than the 20 percent required by the state. 200k grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife. received in late 2018.


In the time since, the city has worked with La Terra Studio to complete the design work on the project.


Eastwood said he expects the project to take about four months to complete.


However, one improvement to the park is ready to launch, figuratively and literally, this week.


City Manager Jud Rex said the city has received and installed a new kayak rental station at the park and expects it to be in operation in the coming days.


The self-serve station will allow visitors to rent single and double kayaks, along with paddleboards, and get out and see the lake from a different point of view.


“It would be a good opportunity for residents to get out and enjoy Waterloo Lake and those who do not have kayaks can rent them now.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.