Mansfield News-Mirror

Mansfield nature trails take another big step with one section nearing completion

This bridge connects the Philip Thompson Soccer Complex with the property near Walnut Ridge Baptist Church and Texas 360.
This bridge connects the Philip Thompson Soccer Complex with the property near Walnut Ridge Baptist Church and Texas 360. Special to the Star-Telegram

The Walnut Creek Linear Trail will take some major leaps forward in 2020 with the opening of Phase 2B connecting Oliver Nature Center to Texas 360 and the start of construction on section 3A through the Shops at Broad retail development in Mansfield.

Large cranes have been placing new bridges over creeks as Phase 2B nears completion. The concrete trail starts at the eastern edge of Oliver Nature Park and continues east along the creek to the Philip Thompson Soccer Complex where there will be another trailhead. From there, the trail continues along the creek to Texas 360 where there’s an area to turn around.

The trail will feature three boardwalks with elevated walkways. There will also be a spur that connects to Lakeview Country Estates.

The 1.2-mile trail is expected to open in December or January.

As Mansfield gets ready for the ribbon cutting on that trail, design work is starting on the middle section that will fill the gap in the middle.

Section 3A will start at James McKnight Park East, go around the softball fields and run along the northern property line of the Shops at Broad. From there, the trail will head south along Carlin Road.

Parks director Matt Young said the project is being built through a partnership with Geyer Morris, the developer of the Shops at Broad, and construction could start in early 2020.

The one-mile trail will feature trailheads, rest areas, drinking fountains, solar lighting and landscaping.

The next section of trail, known as Phase 3B, continues the trail along Carlin Road to Cannon Drive east to Matlock Road where it connects to the existing trail at Oliver Nature Park.

At its Oct. 14 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to hire Kimley-Horn and Associates for $126,500 to design section 3A and do a feasibility study for section 3B.

Engineers will be looking at multiple alignments for Phase 3B, including both sides of Cannon Drive, both sides of Matlock Road and different options for crossing Walnut Creek, Young said.

Mansfield has plans to fill in the gaps within Oliver Nature Park with concrete trails but the exact route that trail will take is tied up in a legal battle with a handful of residents in the Estates of Creekwood. For now, trail goers can take the existing nature paths through Oliver Nature Park to reach the new extension when it opens this winter.

The city also has plans to extend Walnut Creek Linear Park west to the new dog park being developed on West Broad Street and eventually to the city limits.

The first part of that will be done by the developer of The Loft apartments as they build phase 2. The trail will go under North Main Street, to a small park and wind around to connect to the North Main Street Trail that goes south into downtown Mansfield.

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