Lee M. Kleinman

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North Dallas’ Northaven Trail open this weekend

Melanie McCoy (left), Charla McCoy and Ibrisa Odzakovic are already enjoying the Northaven Trail.

By DANIELLE ABRIL
The Dallas Morning News
Published: 18 March 2012 10:26 PM

“‘It’s exciting; it’s thrilling; it’s a big relief,’ said Lee M. Kleinman, Dallas Park Board member for District 11. ‘It’s such a positive enhancement to the neighborhood.’

The 2.2-mile trail cost $1.94 million, financed by bonds approved by voters in 2006. The trail includes limestone benches, doggy stations and rest pits.

The city-owned trail sits on Oncor’s land and will be maintained by the Friends of Northaven Trail, a nonprofit volunteer organization that Kleinman helped create in 2010.”

 

For the past two years, North Dallas resident Kim McBride has enjoyed riding bicycles with her husband and two daughters through the streets of her neighborhood off Preston and Royal.

But her rides are about to get even better, she said, with next month’s official opening of the Northaven Trail.

“Being in a neighborhood without sidewalks, I’m really looking forward to having a way that you can get off the streets and safely ride your bike or walk,” McBride said. “This is very exciting.”

McBride has been visiting Northaven Trail ever since construction began six months ago. The 12-foot-wide hike and bike trail stretches along Oncor’s power line easement just north of Royal from U.S. Highway 75 to Preston Road.

After years of anticipation, Northaven Trail will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. April 14 at St. Michaels Drive. Dallas City Council members Linda Koop and Ann Margolin are scheduled to attend.

“It’s exciting; it’s thrilling; it’s a big relief,” said Lee M. Kleinman, Dallas Park Board member for District 11. “It’s such a positive enhancement to the neighborhood.”

The 2.2-mile trail cost $1.94 million, financed by bonds approved by voters in 2006. The trail includes limestone benches, doggy stations and rest pits.

The city-owned trail sits on Oncor’s land and will be maintained by the Friends of Northaven Trail, a nonprofit volunteer organization that Kleinman helped create in 2010.

Almost official

Even though the trail is not officially open, area residents have been using it for several months.

“It was bringing more people out before it was even close to being done,” said Pam Silvestri, who’s been walking her dog on the trail since last fall. “They were trying to put down concrete, and we were all walking our dogs.”

Construction began in early September, drawing resident interest, and took about six months to complete.

Yvette Cano, who lives off Hillcrest and Royal, took notice of the trail after she saw the construction behind the George Bannerman Dealey Montessori Vanguard and International Academy, where her son attends school. She has taken her two sons and the four children she baby-sits to walk each patch of the trail as it has been completed.

“If it’s good weather, we’ll come every day,” Cano said. “It’s just in a good area; it’s nice and safe.”

Silvestri learned about the proposed trail from another dog walker whom she’d often run into while walking in nearby grassy areas residents often used as trails. She doubted the trail would ever materialize, but when it did, the New York native was grateful.

“This is a great way to meet our neighbors,” said Silvestri, who recently joined the Friends group and is working to get homeowners associations involved with the trail. “I think it’s changing the perception of the area.”

County funds

Dallas County has agreed to match any funding for the trail to help connect it to the larger trail system in the county.

The county’s money will help connect the trail from Central Expressway to the White Rock Creek Trail. Construction is scheduled to begin next year, and the new stretch of trail is expected to open in 2014.

But after that is complete, the project, which was initially planned to be a total of 9.4 miles and completed west to Campion Trail in Irving, will come to a halt because of a lack of funding. There are no Park and Recreation bonds planned to be taken to voters, Kleinman said.

“[The city] does not see it important enough for Park and Recreation to be on there,” Kleinman said. “We won’t have another opportunity until about 2018, maybe 2016 if we’re lucky.”

In the meantime, Friends of Northaven Trail set up a donor package that the group hopes to make available to the community at the trail’s opening. Community members could make donations from $100 to a $1 million and receive inscriptions on bricks and benches.

The county would match these funds.

Kleinman hopes the donations will help the project’s progress, and is still keeping his hopes up for more city support.

“It’ll be interesting to see how far this trail can go,” he said. “I have high aspirations.”

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20120318-north-dallas-northaven-trail-open-this-weekend.ece

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