By Steve Knight The Herald-Zeitung

Members of the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation board last week unanimously approved a plan that will help design a portion of the Dry Comal Creek Hike and Bike Trail as well as one that will keep the city’s small business center up and running.

Members approved a project expenditure recommendation of up to $375,000 for a professional services agreement with San Antonio-based Bain Median Bain for the final design of a portion of the Dry Comal Creek Hike and Bike Trail.

It would fund the project’s final design to include civil, survey, environmental, wayfinding, materials testing and landscape architecture. The city completed the preliminary design for the project in 2018.

City officials placed the project as its top priority for transportation alternatives funding to the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization this year, which is a special funding allocation for bike and pedestrian improvements. 

The AAMPO is expected to select projects for funding in August. If awarded, the city would be responsible for 20% of the construction match, about $500,000, and right of way and easement acquisition, about $60,000. The total project, including design, construction and acquisition, is estimated at about $2.9 million.

The Dry Comal Creek Greenway is envisioned as a linear trail park that will connect neighborhoods with local destinations, existing and future trails and provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. 

The first section of the trail, which would traverse 0.75 miles between North Walnut Avenue and Landa Street and about 0.35 miles between Landa Street and Elizabeth Avenue, is one component of a larger part of the proposed Dry Comal Creek Greenway that could eventually connect to the Little League ballfields and Loop 337. 

The existing trail by the Little League ballfields is a 2.25-mile loop surrounding the fields and is open to hike and bike traffic and is the only mountain bike trail in the park system. 

This section of the trail would not provide a direct connection to the existing trail at the ballfields but would provide a portion of the trail section needed to eventually link the two facilities.