Mayor Norm Archibald will host a walk along the newly developed Cedar Creek walkway on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m.
The walk will begin at the intersection of South 11th and Cedar Creek. Right over the bridge is parking owned by the city. The Mayor has authorized for water to be released into the creek, opening up the possibility for kayaking – water level allowing, said Dr. Jim Cooke, professor of environmental science.
Last year’s walk was rained out, but the Mayor hopes to continue his focus on health and get Abilene citizens out and active through this year’s walk.
The whole trail runs 15 miles from Lake Kirby to Fort Phantom through the middle of Abilene. It picks up off of South 11th to Stevenson Park, and Cooke said the most work as been done to this section of the trail. The creek continues north of ACU near the Sherrod apartments and through the disc golf course to Cedar Crest Street and Will Hair Park, ending at Fort Phantom Lake.
The trail starts about two minutes from ACU’s campus, and the trail can be accessed at Will Hair Park.
In the future, portions of the trail will be different materials. “Eventually, the trail will have a portions of the trails that will be wheelchair and ADA accessible,” said Cooke. “There will be some portions that are more rustic for mountain bikes and hiking and stuff like that.”
“It’s a great project that will improve the quality of life, health and recreation, economic opportunity, historical value, educational value and it’s just a great place,” said Cooke. “It changes the feel of abilene from this dark, brown dusty place to this green, moist deal.”
Most of the land near the creek is owned by the city, who maintains the area. The land is mostly floodplains, which means people will not be able to build on the land, said Cooke.
The city has hopes of the building over the MLK bridge being donated and renovated into new restaurants and shops along the creek.
This year, Cooke said the creek is in great shape because the two lakes are full, maintaining water supply in the creek through a newly built damming system. The damming system will take water from Fort Phantom, pump it into Lake Kirby, let it out of Kirby and let if flow down Cedar Creek, Cooke explained.
“I have been a long time resident of Abilene and I am concerned about the fact that we’ve got a lot of great parks in Abilene, but people don’t use them,” said Cooke. “I’m concerned that we don’t have a lot of bike lanes that encourage people to get out and hike and bike. Many cities have done this…and it makes for an improved quality of life.”
The trail is open and can be used anytime.
“The best way to get involved is to get out and use it,” said Cooke. “Grab your mountain bike and go for a ride. Get your girlfriend or your boyfriend and go for a walk.”
Cooke said he hopes it will become a perk of living in Abilene.
For more information, go to http://www.cedarcreekwaterway.org/ or Abilene Cedar Creek Waterway on Facebook.