The project is also a good match with Norman’s goals. The city already has a Transportation Enhancement grant to start the initial path at 24th Avenue Southeast. That ongoing project is planned to run just past 36th Avenue Southeast.
The program would allow an additional 8.5 miles to connect Norman to the Clear Bay area. The first six miles would be in Norman’s area of responsibility, and the last two miles would fall to the tourism department.
“Our share is to 120th (Avenue); the state would take it to 142nd (Avenue),” O’Leary said. “This is a very large undertaking. What we’re talking about here is picking up where the current grant leaves off east of 36th Avenue.”
If the new grant were won, it would phase out over a five-year period. The grant would provide 80 percent of the funding for the project with a 20 percent match required.
Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation is willing to share half of the local 20 percent cost of the first phase, which is the feasibility study. Norman and the tourism department would each contribute about $51,000 for that portion.
The project would mean building two miles of the trail each year for four years. The tourism department would also pay the 20 percent match for the portion on state park property, which will come to about $240,000.
Norman’s obligation would be about $195,000 per year for each of the years of construction. The city’s share of the money would likely come from capital funds and/or the Greenbelt Acquisition fund.
Norman also will be responsible for maintenance of those first six miles, but the city already mows that Highway 9 right of way.
If the grant is awarded, the feasibility study will look at various viable options but the initial plan is for a 10-foot wide concrete path with separation from the highway.