Borough misses chance for $250,000 grant

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fairbanks North Star Borough missed out on a chance to get a $250,000 grant for the proposed 100-Mile Loop Trail System.

The project, already lacking a trail planner, now needs money to complete it.

Paul Prusak, a transportation planner with the Department of Transportation, said the borough failed to act in time to take advantage of the grant money. And now it's too late.

''It's my understanding it's gone,'' Prusak told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''We gave the borough enough opportunity to say they could take it, and they didn't.''

The proposed trail encompasses Fairbanks, running through Old Murphy Dome to the north, Moose Creek Dike to the east, along the Tanana River to the south and across the Parks Highway to the west.

The grant became available from federal highway funds and the State Transportation Improvement Program last year.

But work on the trail never commenced because the borough assembly cut a part-time trails coordinator position during its budget hearings last spring. That left the borough without a trails expert to administer the project and the grant money connected to it.

''I think that's a shame,'' said Assemblyman Dave Veazey, ''But that's what the assembly decided, much to my dismay.''

During borough budget sessions last spring, Veazey fought to keep the trails planner position, but fell two votes short each time.

At the time, Veazey warned that losing the position would not only have an adverse effect on the trails commission, but would also hamper development of trails in the borough.

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