Metroplan, the central Arkansas infrastructure planning organization, announced a $55 million “strategic commitment” to developing a regional multi-use path network over the next 10 years.
Between now and 2030, Metroplan said it will target approximately half of its Surface Transportation Program block grant toward funding a regional trail system for trails, paths and sidewalks.
“This is a huge strategic step forward,” said Metroplan Executive Director Tab Townsell. “This initiative will make a region-scaled footprint and provide accessibility that is currently not there.”
In announcing the plan, Townsell said an effort will be made to target funds for “optimal path infrastructure using top-quality designs.” The path network will be integrated into the next regional master plan due for release in 2022.
The system will yield benefits for personal health and wellness, tourism, economic development, regional image, and overall quality of life, Townsell said. The regional multi-use path system will integrate existing trails, paths, and sidewalks to make connections within the overall regional transportation system, including existing and future transit.
Townsell said that while its ten-year multi-use path network investment is sizeable, further improvements are desirable. Metroplan is seeking public and private partners to help implement its vision for a region linked by a network of trails, paths and sidewalks that is second to none.
“This trail initiative is innovative, it is trend-setting, and it will succeed because we are committed to it over the long term,” said North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, president of the Metroplan Board.