Construction is underway on Phase I of the Pond Branch Linear Trail in Historic Downtown Mansfield. The project is expected to be completed by early winter 2017.
The City broke ground this spring for the project, which will create a walkable, ridable trail for the downtown business district and restaurants. Klutz Construction is the contractor on the project.
The trail begins at the end of east Kimball Street and Pond Street, crosses a pedestrian bridge over Pond Branch Creek then runs along the creek on the west side. The 10-foot wide paved path then travels under Broad Street to end near Sycamore Street.
Along the way, visitors will travel along the trail under a canopy of trees designed not only for safety along the creek put to retain the nature feel of the area. At Kimball Street, a steel truss bridge will take guests over the creek and add additional character to the trail. The project has a Gristmill-themed appearance, with sandstone paths, walls and rock seating areas.
A trailhead plaza next to the Broad Street Bridge will feature seating walls, small columns and a 14-foot stone monument. The plaza also includes bike racks so trail users can take a break to enjoy shopping or eating at one of the historic downtown destinations. The portion of the trail running under Broad Street will be lit for added security and convenience, as guests continue on to Sycamore Street.
“This is another important step in the revitalization of Historic Downtown Mansfield,” said Mayor David L. Cook at the groundbreaking ceremony in April. “More than 125 years ago this area of our city was the heart of a growing community. Today, the borders of our city are much wider and the number of its citizens significantly greater. But the historic downtown is still the heart of our community. It’s where we gather to celebrate, listen to music and enjoy dinner with friends.
“As we continue to reimagine what historic downtown will look like and what it will mean to our city’s future, we also look for ways to connect this important place to the rest of our community,” he said. “The Pond Branch trail will extend the Walnut Creek Linear trail system into downtown, bringing a vital part of our parks and recreation system into our historic downtown, connecting an important part of our city’s past with a vital part of its future.”
Phase II of the project, once approved, will take the Pond Branch trail at Sycamore Street under the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge and join it to Katherine Rose Memorial Park. On-street access to Town Park from a future Pond Branch trail connection at Oak Street is part of the North Main Street Trail project scheduled to begin in fall 2017.
The trail extension will draw visitors to Historic Downtown, said Parks & Recreation Director Matt Young. But there’s a city-wide benefit as well.
“Pond Branch Trail is not just a gorgeous addition to the downtown area but a crucial piece in the eventual connection to Mansfield’s entire award-winning trail system,” he said.