City officials are hoping to win $750,000 in state grant money to build a new hike and bike trail through downtown and East Lawrence.
City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will apply for the grant that would start where the Burroughs Creek Rail Trail ends near Hobbs Park and end at Constant Park near Sixth and Tennessee streets.
"It is going to be fantastic," said local architect Mike Myers, who has been lobbying for the project. "I like to think of this as kind of a pedestrian and bicycle super highway."
The trail would take a unique route in that it is proposed to go underneath the Kansas River bridges in downtown Lawrence. That route will allow pedestrians to get to Robinson Park, a small pocket park near the southern end of the bridges, without having to cross either Sixth or Massachusetts streets.
City officials have been interested in providing better access to Robinson Park. The park houses Founders Rock, a monument that lists the names of 143 founders of the city who came here from Massachusetts in 1854. City officials also have said a scenic river overlook could be built at the park, if future funding becomes available.
The trail also is proposed to run by the Warehouse Arts District and recently renovated Poehler Lofts building at Eighth and Delaware streets, and adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets. The depot, which is scheduled to be renovated, would provide parking, restrooms and other services for trail visitors.
City officials also are touting that the new trail section would make it easier for pedestrians in southeast Lawrence to access downtown. The new trail would connect with the Burroughs Creek Trail, which connects to the Haskell Rail trail which ends near 31st Street and Haskell Avenue. Once the South Lawrence Trafficway is completed near 31st and Haskell, pedestrians also will have access to the extensive SLT trail system, which will run the entire length of the trafficway.
City officials will learn later this year whether they have been awarded the grant. The city is proposing to spend about $250,000 in local funds as part of the project.