Katy Trail phase 2 seeks $1.8M in TxDOT funding

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A map of Denison shows the proposed route of the Katy Trail through Denison. The city is pursuing grant funding through the Texas Department of Transportation for the project.

The Katy Trail project may soon take a large step toward its final destination in Texoma Health Foundation Park. The Denison City Council recently authorized staff to apply for  state funding to build out the $1.8 million second phase of the hike and bike trail system.

The city will be applying for funding through the 2021 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program, which is overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation. If approved, this would mark the second time that the program has been used to finance the trail system.

"It has been a true joy seeing the progression of phase one," Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Bowen said. "I've had many conversations with community members who have already been enjoying the trail and expressed the delight they find in walking or running the trail daily."

Work on the trail system began in early 2015 when the city council approved the purchase of a former railroad right-of-way with plans to use it as the route for a new water line to south Denison.

The project was soon expanded to include a 12-foot-wide hike-and-bike trail along the same route. City leaders early on approached TxDOT regarding funding for the project, but the trail system stumbled when early requests were denied.

These early failures lead city leaders to cut the project down into smaller phases in an effort to attract TxDOT attention. The $1.2 million first phase was approved for TASA funding in late 2017, and construction began in early 2020.

Denison officials break ground on the first phase of the Katy Trail in December 2019. The city is now pursuing grants from the Texas Department of Transportation for the second phase of the project.

The first phase, which is expected to be completed within the next month, stretches for about one mile from Day Street to Loy Lake Road with connections in Waterloo Lake Park. During work on the first phase, crews also did some of the dirt work for the second phase.

"If you haven't had the chance to drive over and see the work that is going on, it is pretty amazing and wow is the right word," Mayor Janet Gott said.

The second phase of the route will cover 1.25 miles from Loy Lake Road to just north of Spur 503. Crews initially anticipated that this phase would be made from gravel and crushed concrete until a more permanent surface could be built. However the TASA funding may allow the project to move ahead faster than expected.

The expected price tag for phase two comes in at about $1.8 million. Interim City Manager Bobby Atteberry attributed this in part to bridge work that will need to be done during this phase.

Atteberry said he expects to hear back on the application in about six months, and a finalized grant list will be released some time in October. This would clear the stage for the project to be completed some time in 2023.

If approved, the city would still need to make up the 20 percent local match required for the project. However, Bowen said federal credit programs could help offset some of this.

Despite the previous setbacks, Atteberry said he is optimistic about the application. Due to the previous work  and successes, he said he believes the application will be approved.

"We are sitting ready for the money and I think that says a lot in seeking approval," he said.