Emotions fly high in WF City Council meeting over completion of Circle Trail

Local News

WICHITA FALL (KFDX/KJTL) — Besides debate on the Wichita Falls City Council, residents who live on Lake Shore Drive too voiced their concerns over the project and their desire for the trail to run in front of their homes, not their backyards.

It was a packed house in the Wichita Falls City Council Chambers as residents of Lake Shore Drive like Judy Whittington addressed concerns over the location of the next section of the Circle Trail.

“I am very appreciative that the council gave us the opportunity to speak and discuss the issues,” Whittington said.

The main concern of many in the neighborhood is the final leg of the trail is set to be built behind houses and businesses along Lake Shore Drive.

The residents’ strong opposition to having the trail behind their homes caused tensions to fly amongst council members and residents alike.

“This very, very short piece, it’s .2% of the entire Circle Trail. This very tiny piece of the trail takes away some privacy that we expect. We expect privacy in a personal home,” Whittington said.

Wichita Falls City Engineer Blane Boswell said he hears the concerns of the residents loud and clear but that finishing the trail behind the homes is the best way to end the project, a project that has been underway since the 1980s.

“I’m a government employee. I leave my feelings at the door. My job is to preset what information we have but I can certainly sympathize with those property owners,” Boswell said.

Whittington said she wants councilors to know that many residents are in favor of the trail being finished but just don’t want it next to their backyards.

“We agree with all of the speakers today that the circle trail is a shining star for our community and we want to support that fully,” Whittington said.

Boswell said rerouting the trail to the street in front of these houses and businesses would cost an estimated $2 million more.

“That’s what the facts point to is that the cheaper most cost-effective location is along the shoreline and I believe that gives us the best chance of receiving a TXDOT grant is along the shoreline,” Boswell said.

“We’ll just have to see what City Council decides,” said Whittington.

Those residents say it’s a decision they hope comes soon. As of right now the trail has no set completion date. Councilors said they’ll first have to get approval for a TxDOT grant to start this portion of the project.

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