GRANITE SHOALS — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a $73,120 grant that will help the city build a 2.1-mile hike-and-bike trail near City Hall.
"We would not be able to do anything like this if it wasn’t for these grants," Councilwoman Shirley King said May 31. "This allows us to begin moving in the direction we want."
The commission voted May 26 to include Granite Shoals’ request among the $3.3 million awarded in grants. Altogether, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department named 21 National Recreational Trail Grant project recipients across Texas.
The Granite Shoals project is part of an initiative to develop the 131 acres surrounding City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road.
King, who also heads the city’s parks committee, said the grant will help build what will become the Leonel Manzano hike-and-bike trail.
Manzano, a former Granite Shoals resident and Olympic athlete, lent his name to the project, she said.
"He even helped plan it," she added.
The city is working to add ball fields, park facilities and other amenities to the 131 acres. The Andy Roddick International Tennis Center has also selected the area to build its facility. Roddick, a world-renown tennis champion, lives in the Austin area.
His foundation, which promotes health and fitness through tennis, has already opened a QuickStart court at the location.
A QuickStart is a tennis court scaled down for children.
King said the crushed granite hike-and-bike trail will give residents a place to walk, run and bike.
"We’ve tried for years to do this in the city, but we just don’t have enough easement on our roads to build hike-and-bike trails," she said.
Under the grant, the city must contribute 20 percent of the project’s cost. Though the council must vote to accept the funds, the members have already voiced their support for the project, King said.
A 10-member Texas Statewide Trails Advisory Board reviewed more than 60 proposals before sending 21 to the full commission for approval. Money for the grants comes from a portion of the federal gas tax through sales of fuel for use in off-road recreational vehicles.
The money is used to create and maintain motorized and non-motorized trails, officials said.
King said the city is also waiting to hear if it earned a $500,000 outdoor grant for further parks projects.
"We hope to know about that one between now and August," she said.