Asked and answered:
Q. Do you know if the city is working on filling in the giant washed-out area below The Cliffs condominiums on the closed section of the Arkansas River Trail? It’s been washed out for a few years now and nothing has been done to repair it. And have there been any new developments to finish the missing section of the trail that is supposed to run behind Dillard's corporate office?
A. Good timing, says Assistant City Parks and Recreation Director Mark Webre, on the trail washout question. Work is to begin Monday to repair the 100-foot gap created after heavy rains caused the hillside to slump in October 2009.
Building and Utility Contractors Inc. will fill the gap with 5,500 cubic yards of riprap, which will be benched into the hillside, and repair the trail on top. The city is using a grant from FEMA of $616,200 and its 12.5 percent match of $77,025 to pay for the work. The design study was $60,000, which the city matched with $7,500. The initial engineering study was $35,000.
That’s nearly $800,000, a whole lot for a hole, Webre agreed. The city approached FEMA about undergirding more of the trail, but that didn’t fly.
The city remains committed to filling in the larger River Trail gap — the route that would run behind Dillard’s headquarters. Because Dillard’s has not been warm to the idea of having the trail on its property, the city is considering a place that would build a trail on the bluff, a proposition that could cost between $7 million and $12 million. Webre said money for the project “has been identified” and will have to be approved by the city board of directors.
The city would also like to create an off-road portion in Riverdale as well to replace the Riverfront Drive section.