Chisholm Trail Parkway
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The Chisholm Trail Parkway System
The Delano Neighborhood Revitalization Plan recommends that a multi-use path be created along the vacated railway north of Douglas Avenue, anchored by a park at each end (shown in green on the map). We have chosen to call this path the Chisholm Trail Parkway.
The land was originally platted as Pearl Street before it was a railway so the City of Wichita retains ownership of most of the land - including the proposed park at the east end of the parkway. Development of the section from McLean to Seneca has been in the City's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for years, but remains unfunded.
Plans for the new Delano Central Library at 2nd and Sycamore and the River Vista project underway at 2nd and McLean, as well as the development of a Pedestrian / Biking Master Plan for the City, have sparked a renewed interest in the project.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is also developing a Rails-to-Trails plan and is making money available in the form of grants to build a state-wide network of bike trails - Wichita is currently a large gap on their map. The Chisholm Trail Parkway will fill a large portion of that gap.
Zoo Boulevard Connector
The Delano Plan recommends that the path extend to the northwest as far as the West Side Athletic Field, following along beside the still active railroad with a Rail-with-Trail, similar to the existing path along Zoo Boulevard from Central Street up to the Sedgwick County Zoo. Our proposal is to extend the path all the way to Central where it can connect to the Zoo Boulevard path.
We also propose a University Connector which would follow the active railroad southwest to both Friends and Newman Universities. From Newman the trail can follow McCormick through the campus over to West Street where it can connect to the Prairie Sunset Trail coming into town from Garden Plain and Goddard.
This system would connect West Wichita (the part west of the Big Ditch) and the two universities to West Side Athletic Field and the Zoo, as well as Delano, Downtown, the new Library, Museums on the River and the Arkansas River path. The remaining piece of the puzzle would be a route through Downtown which would connect to the Red Bud Trail coming in from Andover and Augusta. Then a cyclist would be able to ride all the way from Garden Plain to Augusta.
The Delano Plan mentions the lack of adequate park and recreation opportunities in the neighborhood. The West Bank Stage which was used for a number of events over the years has been given up for development - and what remains of Delano Park is not suited for large events. Seneca Park is one square city block with a double tennis court dominating the center of it. Layout and lack of parking limit it's use as well. The West Side Athletic Field is set up for baseball and little else.
Delano Park West - The triangle of land between McLean Boulevard and Sycamore Street and north of the old railway is the first of two proposed parks in the Delano Plan. The land is surrounded by Exploration Place to the north, River Vista to the east and the new Delano Central Library to the west. It is a natural public gathering space and a good resting point along the trail system. Size of the property and proximity to parking at Exploration Place, the library and Lawrence-Dumont Stadium make it a good venue for public events. Amenities and improvements could be kept to a minimum.
Junction Town Park - This proposed park is between Elizabeth and the current railroad north of Douglas at the old railroad junction. Junction Town is the name of the housing addition where it is located and the park would be a junction between the Chisholm Trail Parkway and the Zoo Boulevard and University Connectors.
At a little over 4 acres, there are lots of possibilities besides benches and watering fountains. Suggestions include: phone charging stations, a dog park, a community garden and a venue for a farmers market or other events.
The Greenway Alliance
One of the best things to come from the oil drilling "Frack-us" was our interaction with a lot of other organizations interested in biking, walking and fitness which took an interest in our bike/walk path. One of those organizations was the Greenway Alliance which announced in January 2014 that the Delano path was one of the projects that they wanted to facilitate.
Before the Greenway Alliance got the ball rolling with this project it was just sitting on the back burner almost forgotten by many. Others in the city started eying that property and without strong advocacy to keep it as a green space it could have been lost to development - just like the West Bank Stage was.
We are currently presenting the proposal to various boards and committees within the biking community and the City and are getting their support to raise it on the City's priority list. It's been 15 years since it was originally proposed, it's time to get on with it.
The parkway is a top priority for Historic Delano, Delano United and the Greenway Alliance. Our goal is to break ground on the project for the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary in 2017.
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