Somer­ton plans ex­ten­sion of sys­tem of pub­lic walk­ing paths

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - BY CESAR NEYOY

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.”

FILE PHOTO

RES­I­DENTS WALK AND JOG on a walk­ing track along Cesar Chavez Av­enue in Somer­ton.

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