WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A committee comprised of residents and business owners on Lake Shore Drive in Wichita Falls are voicing their concerns about the Circle Trail.
The trail is scheduled to be built behind the homes along the road and residents say they don’t feel safe having strangers travel through their backyards.
The city’s circle trail project has been going on for decades, since the late 1980s.
“There’s a couple of people that come to mind that this was kind of their goal. This was their legacy project if you will. Jack Murphy, the former parks director, I know he would just love to see that trail completed,” Wichita Falls Public Works Director Russell Schreiber said.
But with only two more sections needed, there is an end in sight.
One section requires it to be built along Lake Shore Drive behind the yards of homes and businesses like Larry’s Marine Center.
And, residents on this road are not happy about that.
“With them wanting to put a trail behind here, I have no way of protecting these boats and for the citizens on Lake Shore Drive, that are gonna wind up, possibly could wind up, having a trail five feet of their back porch,” Larry’s Marine Center Owner Rodney Brown said.
City surveys from the 1900s show that lake levels were in the back yards of people’s current homes. That allows the city to build behind these homes.
Lake Shore Drive residents say having people on the trail would disrupt their homes by removing their privacy.
“We play out here and we don’t want to have people riding their bikes and walking in our backyard as we’re trying to cookout or entertain in our backyards,” Lake Shore Drive resident Pamela Morath said.
City officials say this piece of the project has not received funding yet and it may be a period of time before the project is finished. But residents would much rather see Lake Shore Drive widened and the trail in front yards.
“We’re not against the trail by any means. None whatsoever against a bicycler or hiker, whatever the case is. All we wanna do is get the trail moved to the front of the street,” Brown said.
“Call the mayor, call the city manager, let them know that this is not something that is right. If we live there, we would not want it in our backyard. We need to get the community behind this also,” Lake Shore Drive resident Gary Morath said.
Another tale of the city vs. residents but the end goal of it all: Keep progressing the city.
Schreiber says if the funding comes through, officials won’t know until October or November but he says there’s a good chance it won’t get funded then.