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River Trail expansion to Schreiner OK’d

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019 8:31 am

The Hill Country is home to a picturesque path that continues to grow, and the Kerrville City Council made the decision on Tuesday night to let it grow near Schreiner University.

The council unanimously approved funding for the Kerrville River Trail to extend to the Schreiner University campus. The trail is currently 5 miles long, but with this extension, it will grow to be about 6.

E.A. Hoppe, the deputy city manager, said that the trail will go from G Street down Texas Highway 27, cross under the bridge near Glen Rest Cemetery, wrap around Quinlan Creek and cross a bridge onto the Schreiner campus.

“It helps connect the adjacent neighborhoods and area businesses and really provides a trailhead in an area of the community where we don’t have one right now,” Hoppe said.

He said the city will begin working on a more detailed plan with the hopes that they can bring it to the council in four to six weeks.

“I would think that design should not take a tremendous amount of time,” Hoppe said. “Our hope is to lead a construction project late summer, early fall and have the project complete in an early 2020 time frame.”

The Economic Improvement Corporation will provide $1.5 million for the project in two equal installments this year and next year. The city is to design and engineer the project, as well as construct the extension.

Schreiner University will build a perimeter campus trail with public access, which is to connect the campus to the River Trail. Schreiner also will provide $50,000 to the city for the project.

“Our Schreiner University is everybody’s university, it’s the Hill Country’s Schreiner University,” Charlie McCormick, president of Schreiner University, said. “If you’re out on the River Trail and you want to use that as a means to bike up to a lecture on campus, then there’s an easy way to facilitate that.”

He said that sometimes people who are not enrolled in or work at the university are afraid to come on to the university because it feels closed off to them. He said he hopes that the walking trail will be an invitation to the public to be involved with Schreiner and make it feel more open.

“I’m excited for that invisible wall to break down between us and Kerrville,” Toby Appleton, the university relations specialist, said.

McCormick said having improved access to the university will help people to be motivated to enroll and work there. He said that having high walkability and opportunities for biking will help bring in young talent.

“When students are on campus, they’re having fun times on the weekends, walking with their friends to the movies or downtown or just walking, enjoying each other’s company, they’re going to have strong, positive associations with the university, and they’ll want to stay there,” McCormick said.

The university also will construct publicly accessible restrooms near the trailhead within two years after the extension of the River Trail opens.

Some council members said that they were excited about the trail, especially Delayne Sigerman, Place 3, who said she was looking forward to eating breakfast at the Schreiner cafeteria and then walking it off on the trail.

“I enjoy the river trail very much,” said Mayor Bill Blackburn. “The area around the cemetery is really beautiful. I have a grandson buried on the north side of the cemetery and so I’ve seen that area, and it’s just really nice.”

According to Hoppe, the River Trail’s extension is also consistent with the Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan, which has the goal of improving and expanding businesses and recreational areas.

“(The extension agrees with) a couple of different guiding principles here focusing on enhancing and investing in existing assets that we have and then also focusing on connecting businesses, neighborhoods and major destinations to the river corridor,” Hoppe said.

McCormick added that the Schreiner 2023 Plan, the university’s own improvement project, has a lot of goals that line up with the Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan, such as using the Guadalupe River as a resource.

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