Project Director Metta Collier and National Parks Service Community Planner Kathryn Nichols are looking forward to another year working side by side to "Keep Stephenville Beautiful."
The Keep Stephenville Beautiful project for the Bosque River Trail Corridor recently received word they will be granted assistance from the United States Department of the Interior's National Parks Service for another year.
When the city began to work on the trail, expanding it and cleaning up around the Bosque River, Collier said she got involved with the project through Keep Stephenville Beautiful. She said the work began with a trip to the water stations along the Bosque River with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER).
"I saw all kinds of trash dumped along the river throughout the city," Collier recalled. "The worst one wasn't even a mile from the courthouse. I decided right then something had to be done."
Collier went to city and county officials before speaking with Drew Wells with the city and Commissioner Joe Brown. She said the two men were appalled with the debris that had been dumped along the river and set about immediately getting crews together to help clean up the mess.
"They went right to work, getting crews out there with heavy equipment and helping us in every way imaginable," Collier said. "Commissioner Brown had his guys out there getting rid of the junk almost the next day. They got done in two weeks what I was told by state officials would take 10 years of applying for grants to do. We can't thank them enough for the work they've done to help."
The help allowed the Bosque River Trail Corridor Project Committee to focus on other grants. Now, the group is focused on connecting the city park trail with the Bosque River trail, and one day, connecting a full nine miles of trails throughout the city.
Collier said the group hopes to one day connect the future wetlands project, which will be located near the city's wastewater treatment facility, to the trails near the city park to the Optimist JayCee Park.
"Our goal is to continue working closely with the city of Stephenville through Keep Stephenville Beautiful and the council, the county and the Chamber of Commerce to keep this wonderful project growing," Collier said. "This year we will be taking the city's comprehensive plan and all the input we've received from the community and making a master plan for connecting the trails."
She said the first goal is to get the trails in the city park connected to the trails on the other side of Graham Street. Collier said the grants are already in the works, and the plan is to have another parking area near the RV spots in the park and connect the trails by the bridge.
With the approval of the assistance grant, which provides the project with help from the National Parks Service for the 2014 fiscal year, Collier said the project will continue to thrive.
"We're so lucky to have Kathryn Nichols. She has more than 10 years of experience working with TXDOT and with the Parks Service," Collier said. "She's been instrumental in helping us receive the grants we have and the progress we've made so far."
Collier and the city of Stephenville agree that as long as there is interest and funds available, the Bosque River Trail Corridor project is a priority.
"TXDOT told us when we got word about receiving the last grant that they were very impressed with the amount of community response we've received so far," Collier said. "It's been a big help, the community has been a big help with the project. And we hope they continue to come out and work with us and give their opinions because those are important in a project like this. As long as the community is interested, we can make this dream a reality."
If you are interested in helping, call 968-1294.