TRAIL PLANNING: Taylor and Scenic could be starting point.

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  • TRAIL PLANNING: Taylor and Scenic could be starting point.

I received an e-mail from the Heights Neighborhood Association about plans to develop a route for an ADA-accessible bike/pedestrian trail from the Heights down to the River Trail. Cantrell Road is no place for safe biking or hiking and the only other close connection, on Overlook, is steep.

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City help is promised. Good luck with that. The $500 million tax increase being pushed by City Hall includes a princely $150,000 a year in the capital portion of the budget for trails — not enough to maintain what we have. We’ve been waiting forever on the city to deliver on its promise to “close the loop” on the River Trail by finishing the portion now diverted to a narrow sidewalk along Highway 10 in front of Episcopal Collegiate School. Then-state Rep. Sam Ledbetter wrung a hard-earned $1 million out of the state for the work six years ago, but the money languishes (the interest going to other city expenses), though that once was more than enough to widen the path on the school (south) side of Cantrell. However, Mayor Mark Stodola won’t take on the Stephens family, which opposes any bike trail around the school, built with significant Stephens family contributions. Instead, the mayor favors an expensive plan to build a cantilevered steel and concrete elevated pathway behind Dillard’s headquarters along the Arkansas River. This is contingent on federal grant money. Maybe $12 million is needed. Which is probably why nothing has happened.

Anyway, a nice thought about a Heights-to-the-river trail follows:

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