The Rimbey Lions Club and the Town of Rimbey broke ground on a new section of trail on Monday, Aug. 17 that will complete a quarter-century labour of love.
The completion of this section of trail, from the Evergreen Estates subdivision in the northwest part of town to Drader Crescent will be the crowning achievement of 25 to 30 years of work.
The Lion’s Club is “ecstatic (and) overjoyed,” to have finally have the project underway, says long-time member Ted Jamieson.
The project “took awhile in all directions,” said Jamieson, adding it took time to get the land and other logistics of the project.
The Lions have had the money set aside for “months, if not years,” and approved the expenditure last month, says Jamieson.
The Lions Club is paying for the entire $90,000 of the project, according to Rimbey CAO Lori Hillis.
”The Town is contributing engineering costs, some additional fencing and some labour and equipment,” said Hillis.
The town’s 2018 capital budget approved a walking trial from Drader Crescent to Evergreen Estates. The town was to purchase the land and the Lions Club was to fund the construction of the trail.
The town had to negotiate with affected landowners, and the land was transferred to the town in January, 2020, with the town incurring $15,000 in costs.
The Lions Club has applied for a CFEP grant and expects to hear back in November. It has $20,000 set aside, which it allotted for the trail project back in 2019.
The funds were raised through various events as well as from operating the Nesting Place Campground, under the direction of the town.
The new section of trail is being built to connect that subdivision to the trail system so kids can walk to school without needing to cross a highway.
A delegation of concerned residents spoke to town council on June 23, asking about when the area would be getting a walking path and making it safer for children to get to school.
The Town of Rimbey boasts an extensive trail system circling through most of the town.
The trail is “very well used,” he said, adding he’s heard of regular users from out-of-town who come just to walk on the path.
It starts on the east side of town near the Legacy Ford dealership, winding south towards the soccer fields and ball diamonds and Nesting Place Campground to Valley View Manor on the west side of town, before heading north to the Rimbey Ridge Hotel and then the community centre.
Members of town council and the Lions Club gathered on Monday for the ceremonial golden shovel photo op, and the equipment moved in shortly after, to start removing sod to make way for the trail.
The trail has a gravel base and will be paved for a smooth, level walking surface, says Jamieson.
The paving is expected to be completed by the end of September, according to Jamieson.
While he says there may be more trail projects started in the ftuure, for now, this seems to complete the town’s walking trail system.
Jamieson says the town staff have been “wonderful people to work with and they support us, and we support them.”