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Long-Planned Trail Project Gets Fiscal Greenlight for Summer Start Thanks to $600,000 Federal Grant

October 28, 2020
The City of Bridgeport has been working for some time on the next major phase of its recreational trail system. On Tuesday that work received a huge financial boost.
 
During a visit to Bridgeport, Gov. Jim Justice announced winners of a dozen of federal Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program Grants administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Among those grants was a $600,000 grant to Bridgeport.
 
With the city’s required match, the total funding now available is more than $700,000, according to City Engineer Beth Fox. Fox added that design work has been ongoing for the project in question by Civil Environmental Consultants (CEC).
 
Counting design work and what will end up being a two-phase project, the cost will likely be slightly more than $1.3 million.
 
Where is the trail in question?
 
“The full design will involve two phases that when finished will go from the Bridgeport Rec Complex and through Worthington Village in phase one and eventually to Compton Park and even beyond at the completion,” said Fox.
 
According to a press release from Justice's office, the trail will be approximately two miles long.
 
The first phase will see the trail work begin that will tie Bridgeport’s newest residential growth area in Charles Pointe to the historically older part of the city. Fox said there will be some feeder trails from Worthington Village into the main trail.
 
“The grand scheme of this trail is to provide a trail bringing the communities together. Right now, there is no good way, other than driving, to access the Recreation Complex as Route 131 is not wide enough for foot traffic or safe,” said Fox. “This will provide a safe alternative and also provide a trail that allows the city to continue on its health initiative with a trail giving access to the residential areas of Charles Pointe and the complex.”
 
Bridgeport Parks and Recreation echoed plenty of what Fox had to say about the project. It is a project he has been a proponent of for some time.
 
“One of the big things is that it creates a safe transportation alternative, which is important and matches the name of the grant,” said Shuttleworth. “Walkers, joggers and people on bikes will be able to go from the Recreation Complex into residential areas.
 
“It’s important because Bridgeport is a very physically active community,” said Shuttleworth. “If you go through town, to our parks and on the existing trail system you can see the amount of activity taking place. This will enhance that.”
 
Fox said the concept is not the city’s concept. She said it is part of a plan created by Genesis Partners, the developers of Charles Pointe, to incorporate a trail into their massive development.
 
“The city values all the work Genesis Partners is putting into the Bridgeport community and we’ll try to do what we can to help that along,” said Fox of the project that Shuttleworth said will see the bulk go through property in the Charles Pointe development.
 
Fox said the first phase of project should start by summer barring any hiccups but was not sure of when the second phase would begin. When finished, there will be a full asphalt trail able that is handicap accessible for use by bikers, walkers, and runners. Fox said the plans call for benches, lighting, and potentially water fountains as well.
 
Editor's Note: Pictured, from left, is Councilman Don Burton, City Engineer Beth Fox, Gov. Jim Justice, Councilman John Wilson, and Mayor Andy Lang receiving their notification of the city's grant award.