Members of the Smoky Hill River Restoration project team, along with friends and supporters, gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the completion of the first segment of the Salina river trail.
A short program preceded a ribbon cutting at the the beginning of the trail, behind the Salina Family YMCA.
Among those who spoke was City of Salina Utilities Director Martha Tasker. She gave an outline of the Smoky Hill River renewal project, which includes among other things getting the river flowing again, with a trail system along it. The project timeline goes through at least 2030. Tasker concluded “good things are worth the wait”.
Salina Vice Mayor Bill Longbine cited the river project as another public / private partnership.
Salina YMCA President / CEO Angie Lassley said that once the river gets flowing again her organization hopes to launch a canoe / kayak program.
This new trail, which loops around the back of the YMCA for ½ mile is placed next to the Smoky Hill River that will eventually be restored to a flowing river once again. Within the next year the trail will be extended 900 feet to the east, connecting it to the Indian Rock trail at Ohio Street.
The new trail around the YMCA is a mixed-use path for walkers, bikers and runners that will eventually connect the south part of the riverway by Indian Rock Park to the north side of the riverway by Lakewood Park for seven miles.
The trail around the YMCA is a commitment to provide safe and efficient pedestrian networks that eventually will go under both North Ohio Street and South Ohio Street connecting with the trails already in place on the levee system.
This will lead to over 30 miles of trails in Salina when the Smoky Hill River Renewal is finished. The trail around the YMCA is a partnership between the City of Salina and the Friends of the River Foundation.
The Friends of the River Foundation strives to restore the natural channel of the Smoky Hill River to its role as an integral part of the aesthetic, recreational, and economic life of Salina.
For more information about the Friends of the River Foundation and the Smoky Hill River Restoration project, visit www.smokyhillriver.org or find them on Facebook.