A walking trail around the Green Sports Complex is about to become reality and additional trail footage could soon be in the works.
The latest installment of the ever-growing Pratt trail system will soon be under way, probably in spring 2013, providing a new walking trail that will connect the Green Sports Complex to the Green Walking Trail along the Ninnescah River east of Country Club Road.
This is part of the ongoing plan to improve the walking opportunities in the Pratt area.
"We're going to continue expanding our walking trails," said Pratt City Manager Dave Howard.
This latest project is made available through a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism grant under the Recreational Trails Fund Act. The city applied for the grant about nine months ago and it was confirmed around the end of October.
The city has to provide a 20 percent in-kind match in order to get the grant.
More funding is needed to complete the project so the city is applying for the same grant again this month, Howard said.
Deadline for grant applications is Friday, Nov. 30. The KDWPT Trails Advisory Board will meet Wednesday, Dec. 5 to review the grants and begin the process of determining who gets the grant money, said Kathy Pritchett, KDWPT Trail Grant coordinator.
Anyone seeking a grant is encouraged to attend the meeting and present their project to the Board. Presenters will be limited to two to five minute speeches.
The Advisory Board will meet at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 East 29th Street N, Wichita, Kan. Grant application information is available at the KDWPT website at www.ksoutdoors.com/news/State-Parks/Grants.
Funding for the grants is limited and many entities from around the state have applied.
"I have a feeling it's going to be very, very competitive from the number of applications we have received," Pritchett said.
After the meeting and presentations, it will take the Board about a month, depending on how hard the decisions are to make, to evaluate each plan and determine who gets fully funded, who gets partially funded or who needs to go back to the drawing board and try again later, Pritchett said.
Notification will be sometime in January 2013.
The Pratt trail system is just part of a much bigger plan that not only includes trail footage but also additional sidewalks along U.S. 54 and all through Pratt along with bike trails.
"This is the first phase of a city wide improvement," Howard said.
The city portion of funding will come from the convention and tourism fund or other funds that are directed to park improvements.
Page 2 of 2 - Funds for the National Recreational Trail Fund Act come from the Federal Highway Administration. This year the governor has about $2 million for this round of funding and that is up just a little from previous funding cycles.
Previous grants have also gone to Pratt County for the walking trail through the cattails at the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake and to the B-29 Museum for signage along their proposed walking trail at the Pratt Regional Airport.