COLUMBUS – A grant from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is helping the city move forward with its recreational trail plan.

The City of Columbus applied for the Game and Parks' Recreational Trails Program grant last fall. The city was awarded the grant in January.

The city's plan was presented in Lincoln by public property director Doug Moore and City Engineer Richard Bogus. Columbus was selected from seven communities that applied. Columbus was one of three communities that received funds.

The Columbus project stood out because it is in its final design and fits well into the community.

The trail will run along the Lost Creek flood control project, giving cyclists, runners and walkers a view of wildlife along the corridor.  

The project will connect trail systems from north of Columbus to trail systems that circle Columbus High School. 

“Its main feature is that it connects two other large trail systems,” Moore said.

The connectivity of this non-motorized trail increases access for bikers and joggers to the Columbus Family YMCA, the hospital, the schools and the Wilderness Park. This provides more safety to bikers because they don’t have to go through traffic to go to these places, Moore said.

While other applying communities had to acquire land, Columbus owns its trail route, making its application stand out. The total estimated cost of the project is $500,000. The grant takes care of half of the cost and the city received additional contributions from the Lower Loup Natural Resources District and the Columbus Recreational Trail.

The project is still undergoing environmental reviews and its design stage. It is scheduled to begin construction in spring 2019.

“It will be a scenic trail as trees grow,” Moore said.

The city plans to make it a rustic-prairie design. Due to the flood control running along the trail and the airport located near one of the connections, the city took precautions to avoid obstructions while abiding regulations.

Trail organizers said they are grateful for community support excited to get the project started.

“We are doing something that a lot of people are going to use once we get it into place,” Moore said.