In-Town Trail System Closer To Completion

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The Payson Parks and Recreation Department has moved one step closer to completion of its trails program.

Last Thursday, Interim Parks and Recreation Director Mary McMullen gave the town council a 60-day status report of the project.

Mayor Bob Edwards said the council will vote in February on the completed program.

The parks and recreation department has refined a map of areas where they would like the trails to be.

"In February, we will solidify the map to make sure it works," McMullen said.

"It's a very exciting process," she said. "It's going to be a great project and benefit for the town."

The trail system was the brainchild of Payson Councilor Andy Romance.

Several months ago when the council prepared to vote on a fuel break that would surround the town, Romance wondered if this break could also be utilized as trail system.

"It would be a good location for trails, " he said, mentioning the trail would go around the town and would be linked to existing trails.

One of the ideas, he said, would be to detach the trails from the arterial roadways.

Currently, the sidewalks in the town keep pedestrians very close to the streets. If the trails could be developed four to six feet away from the streets in Payson, it would be much safer for residents.

The councilman said the goal when this idea was broached was to do multi-modal projects.

"The fire break does only one thing," he said. "It can be something else."

In May, the council approved funding to look into this project and it blossomed from there.

In November, Romance put together an outline and presented it to the council, who then gave direction to town staff to come up with a plan.

McMullen has been working diligently on the trails project, Romance said, but the concept is not just a parks and recreation issue.

He said this project will also include the public works department, community development and the fire department.

He said there is a lot of work that still needs to be done and completed in the next 30 days.

"Even though Mary has done a great job, it is not a completed project," Romance said.

Payson will need to build a relationship with the Forest Service to implement the trail system outside the town limits.

The cost for this project, Romance said, has yet to be discussed, but he believes there is federal and state grant funding available for this type of project.

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