Somerton plans extension of system of public walking paths
SO MER TON — Residents here who want to get their blood pumping can walk, jog or bicycle on any of the asphalt walking tracks that City Hall began building six years ago with the state’s financial help.
Located in different parts of the city, the walking paths — or andadors, as they are known to residents — collectively total four miles.
Under its master plan, the city proposes to add another nine miles of extensions to existing paths, connecting them all in one system of walkways that would allow users to travel on foot or bike from one corner of the city to another.
But getting together the funds to do the work may take time, the city’s public works director, Samuel Palacios, conceded recently as he gave a progress report about the network of paths to the Somerton City Council.
The cost to build each mile is estimated to cost $260,000, he said.
“Little by little, we have been developing the (master) plan, thanks to there having been funds available (from the Arizona Department of Transportation),” he told the council. “We still have nine miles to build. It’s going to be a big challenge, but I believe we can do it.”
The city in 2013 adopted the master plan as a way to provide a form of exercise and recreation for Somerton residents. Since then the paths have been built in eight increments in various locations. By the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, it hopes to complete two more stretches totaling nearly a half-mile. One would extend along County 15th Street between Madison Street, while the second would stretch from along County 17th Street from the Main Canal to Bingham Avenue.
Palacios suggested that some of the new stretches could be funded with the financial help of developers whose subdivisions are located along the routes of the walking tracks. And, he said, city workers could be used in the construction to further reduce costs.
Mayor Gerardo Anaya raised the possibility of the city setting aside money for additional paths in its budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
“We can see during the (city council) retreat if we can in put in the capital improvement plans at least a half mile of andador,” he said. “These are projects that are going to impact the quality of life for our residents.”
City Councilman Carlos Gonzalez said the andador master plan serves as a model for other cities.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best things we have done,” Gonzalez said, “and I know that other cities have looked at it as an example. The plans are going well.”
RESIDENTS WALK AND JOG on a walking track along Cesar Chavez Avenue in Somerton.