QUESTION: I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer the following questions about the extension of the city of Longview walking trails:
1. When will the trails under construction (Fourth Street to Hollybrook to Delwood) be completed?
2. What trail extension sections were approved by the recent city election?
3. What is the timetable for completion of the trail extension sections approved by the bond election?
4. Will the trail go under or across Judson Road and McCann Road/Spur 63?
ANSWER: Parks Director Scott Caron said Phase I of the Guthrie Trail extension, between Fourth Street and Delwood, is expected to reach the stage of “substantial completion” in mid-May. That’s when we’ll get to start using the trail. Phases 2 and 3, which will connect the Boorman Trail to Guthrie Trail and then Guthrie to Akin Trail, will pass under McCann and Judson roads, Caron said. Also, just in case there’s any confusion, this trail project is being paid for with a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation and funding provided by the Longview Economic Development Corp. No bond money is going to this project.
So, that answers questions one and four. As for questions two and three, here’s what the bond package is providing:
Caron said reconstruction of the Cargill Long Trail is in the design phase. Construction should be complete by the end of next summer.
Construction of a 9,000-linear-foot, soft-surface trail at Lear Park, which won’t connect to the larger trail system, is part of additional projects at Lear, so it probably won’t be completed until the end of summer 2021, Caron said.
All of the remaining trail projects will not connect to the larger trail system. They’re trails within individual parks, including: a seal coat for the McWhorter Park Trail; resurfacing the trail at Spring Creek Park; constructing a trail at Stamper Park; extending the trail at Broughton Park; and constructing a trail at Spring Hill Park.
“All of the park improvements are in two phases due to the funding available from the bond sales, which includes all the public safety and street improvements too,” Caron said in an email. Some parks will get upgrades that don’t include trails. Phase I includes the east side of McWhorter Park, Spring Creek and Stamper/Womack parks, with funding from the first bond issuance that took place in February. Those project should be complete by spring 2021, Caron said. Phase 2 includes the west side of McWhorter and Spring Hill Park. Caron said they most likely would be part of the third bond issuance in 2023 and would be completed by the end of 2024.
Q: At one time the News-Journal printed a report that Braum’s was coming to Longview. Is that ever going to be a reality?
A: A Braum’s representative told me this week that the company has no timeline before a planned restaurant is constructed where the former Liberty Baptist Church building is at 1500 W. Loop 281. It’s been months since the folks in Longview’s development services office have heard anything from the restaurant.
I will tell you this to clear up some confusion: Braum’s did purchase the church building and about 2 acres of property on West Loop 281, and the former church building still stands on that lot. A Beer Wells Real Estate sign was placed in the ground there a while back, but it does not mean the church building is for sale, according to Walter Northcutt, with Beer Wells. The whole property was about 7 acres, and he represents the remaining 5 acres of property. He said he has nothing to do with the church building.