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Public Input Sought for New Trail Connection for Kiwanis Park

Trail Would Loop Park, Connect Two Existing Trails

The public is being invited to learn and comment on a new trail segment being proposed to continue expanding the bicycle and pedestrian links around Lake Wales.

The segment would connect the Lake Wailes Trail with the Rails-to-Trails track. A trail design concept created by city consultant Hale Innovation of Maitland envisions the new trail linking the existing at three points while looping around Kiwanis Park.

A Federal Recreational Trails Program grant application to help fund the construction is being filed by the city consultant. The grant would pay 80 percent of the cost of the new link.

Public comment and input is being sought at the special meeting to be held 5:30 Monday at the City Administration building. Lee Hale, engineer and principal of Hale Innovation, is expected to be present to answer questions about the plan.

Kiwanis Park is a popular city recreation area offering picnic shelters, an accessible children's play area known as "Barney's Dream," as well as a skate park and sports facilities. The trail would improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the park.

The trails enhancements and expansion being conducted by the city are related to the Lake Wales Connected plan, although this particular project is outside that planning area. A new trail linking the Lake Wailes Trail and downtown Lake Wales is expected to be dedicated in the near future, once landscaping improvements are completed.

Future trails and bike tracks planned as part of the Connected project will ultimately link to a broader county and state-wide trail system, allowing cross country bicyclists access to city parks and facilities.

The Federal Recreational Trails Program is part of the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, and offers "competitive, matching-grant funds to renovate, develop, or maintain recreational motorized, non-motorized, and mixed-use trails and trailside facilities."


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