- Associated Press - Saturday, August 23, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A 60-mile-long recreational trail through southeast Nebraska and northern Kansas is nearing completion.

The Nebraska Trails Foundation has raised $816,000 of the $840,000 needed to build the final, undeveloped section from south of Beatrice to the Kansas border. The trail is a former right of way of the Union Pacific Railroad that will run from Lincoln, Nebraska, and Maryville, Kansas, according to the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1wlqtuG ).

The foundation plans to raise the rest of the money required, plus $150,000 more for maintenance, foundation vice president Ross Greathouse said.

With money and commitments secured, supporters will ask the Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District Board to assume ownership of the nearly 20-mile stretch, which will link to a 13-mile segment in Kansas.

A meeting is scheduled for this Thursday in Beatrice. The natural resources district board has moved the meeting from its offices to a larger space because a large crowd of supporters is expected.

The trail is a part a regional network that loops for 214 miles through Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.

Greathouse said persuading the board to take ownership of the trail might be a hard sell, because the Lower Big Blue, unlike other NRDs in Nebraska, does not own any significant recreational trails.

He said the Beatrice-based district should own this piece of trail because state law gives responsibility for recreational trail development to NRDs. Also, no tax dollars would be required, because the foundation has raised most of the needed money.

Lower Big Blue board member David Clabaugh said the board has discussed the issue in the past with trail supporters but has not taken a position.

“It seems a lot of the board did not want to use any tax money for maintenance. That was the big thing,” Clabaugh said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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