The City of Kenai will begin building two new pedestrian trail segments in July as part of the parks and recreation department’s annual trail-expansion priority.
One section, between 4th and 5th Avenue, will add onto the Shqui Tsatnu Creek Trails. Construction of the 800-foot trail will begin this week, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates said.
Another section, between Airport Way and Marathon Road, snaking behind the Homer Electric Association building, will join the Ryan’s Creek Trail to Daubenspeck Park. The trail segment is less than a 800-yards long, and construction is expected to begin around the end of July, Frates said.
The city will spend between $5,500-$10,000 building the Shqui Tsatnu Creek Trail addition and up to $25,000 building the Ryan’s Creek Trail addition, he said.
The trail additions will link more completely downtown sections of the city with abutting subdivisions and parks, he said. “It’s another means of transportation between different town systems,” Frates said.
Expanding its trail systems also promotes outdoor recreation within the city, he said.
Both Pam Voeller and Deborah Nyquist are excited about that.
“I’m very glad it’s there,” said Voeller about the existing trails. “I think it’s a great part of the city, any city.”
Nyquist, a member of the Central Peninsula Change Club, an organization promoting exercise and healthy eating, said many people exercise too infrequently to sustain a healthy lifestyle. With more activity and fresh air, people feel better, she said.
Her club encourages the trail’s use.
“We want to make sure there are local options,” Nyquist said.
Voeller works behind the Safeway supermarket and she often uses the trails to walk to lunch. Sometimes she and a coworker will walk the entire length of the Ryan Creek Trails.
“If it’s a windy day like earlier in the spring, it’s nice to get out of the wind,” she said. “I bet it’s nice to get some shade now.”
Walking the trails at lunchtime freshens her mind and provides a nice excuse to leave her car keys behind, she said. “It’s an enjoyable walk too, because we’re off the busy roads,” she said.
Frates said the parks and recreation department may also flag trees in Municipal Park for future trail construction there, but it will likely not begin trail construction this summer.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.