City to take property for $3 million project
Eminent domain will be used for 4 acres to connect trails in city, county.
ROUND ROCK — After negotiations with landowners fell flat, the city of Round Rock will use eminent domain to take about 4 acres where the city plans to construct what officials say is a crucial two-mile stretch of trails — a roughly $3 million project that will connect major trails in the city and eventually throughout the county.
The two tracts the City Council voted to take Thursday are east of the Play for All Abilities Park off A.W. Grimes Boulevard. The stretch of trail the city will construct there will connect the Brushy Creek trail system with the Greater Lake Creek trail system, according to city documents. Round Rock Parks and Recreation Director Rick Atkins said that once they are connected, the trails will run “pretty much from our eastern border to downtown.”
The project fits into the county’s master plan for hiking and biking trails, a plan that calls for the eventual addition of 14 miles of new trails to connect 87 miles of trails throughout the county. The plan was brought before the Commissioners Court in September, but the court did not vote on it, so it awaits approval.
Officials have said walking, hiking and biking trails are the most highly used parts of the county’s parks system.
Eventually, Atkins said, “you’ll be able to jump on that trail system and go from east to west in our county.”
Between the county, cities and private developers, more than 207 miles of trails have been laid out through the county, with 578 more miles proposed by the master plan that commissioners heard about in September.
To clear the way for the project, Round Rock will take about 2.6 acres owned by John Bolt Harris, Susan Hickox Harris and the Hickox Family Trust. The city will also take a little more than 1 acre owned by Charles and Francis Dumas.
City officials would not say how much they offered for the properties, which have no structures. County appraisal records show land in the area going for $17,000 an acre or more.
Round Rock and Williamson County are partnering on the twomile trail project, which will be funded mostly through grants, according to city documents. The city will spend $190,000 and the county will spend $400,000 toward the roughly $3 million project, Atkins said. The rest will be funded by grants, including $2.36 million from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“It’s a really significant piece of grant funding,” Atkins said.
He said the city hopes to start construction on the trails in the spring or summer and said the project could be complete as early as the beginning of 2014.