HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - The City of Huntington has been awarded a special grant which will pay the costs of creating a walking trail in Centennial Park.
“Several months ago, I had a meeting that I went to in Jasper. The lady who was doing the session mentioned the fact that there was an organization in Minneapolis, MN, making grants, funds available, to small towns," said Bill Stewart, city administrator. “It had to be a population of 10,000 or less. [It] fit our size city, so I got the information and started looking.”
What was awarded was called the Rural Initiative grant; small cities are eligible to apply for the grant to help fund projects that can “bring the community and the city together,” Stewart explained. Stewart applied for the grant in September; he found out a few weeks ago that the city was awarded.
“Last year for the Rural Initiative, they funded 10 projects,” Stewart explained. “We happened to be fortunate this year -- this is the first time we applied -- we received the grant.”
Last year, the average grant awarded was $14,500; Stewart the amount awarded to Huntington was around $25,000. City officials raised an undisclosed amount of money to add to the grant funds to help complete the project. Stewart said he’s already spoken with several volunteers about how they can best serve the community with their time and resources to make the project a success.
This would be the first walking trail made available to city residents.
“When we came here a few years ago, I kept hearing about people saying they wanted a walking trail,” said Stewart. “Finally, we’re able to do something the community wants in the way of a walking trail.”
Stewart said Centennial Park is already a popular hub in the city; adding a walking trail to an area that serves as a drawing card in the community, Stewart said, was a better use of the property.
The city is still finalizing its plans. Stewart said the city council is still figuring out what is needed to complete the project, and where the trail should be.
“We want to make sure that it goes around the park, we don’t want it to interrupt the growth of any flowers or trees,” said Stewart. “We don’t want to get in the way of an area that’s used for, say the stage area. We have lots of ground there, so it’ll just meander in and around the park.”
The initial trail could be up to two-tenth’s of a mile, but Stewart said the city planned on adding more to the trail in the future. Stewart hopes to have the first phase, and much of the project finished by July 1.