Changes eyed for City Park trails

PARKERSBURG – Mayor Bob Newell said he would like to see walking trails at City Park separated from biking paths and roads to improve safety and provide more parking.

Newell announced the idea during his “State of the City” address at Tuesday’s Parkersburg City Council meeting, and Wednesday said he has asked the city’s Public Works department to develop the idea.

Newell said while he does not yet have a timeline or cost estimate, he believes the move is needed.

“I’ve heard complaints from runners and walkers,” he said. “You’ll see it the first warm night we have, in April and May, the first really nice weather we have the park gets very congested.”

Newell said it is both a safety and convenience issue. During park events, such as concerts, parking quickly runs out and many motorists are forced to park in between the yellow pylons which separate the road from the walking trail, effectively blocking the trail.

“That puts everybody on the street,” Newell said.

The proposed changes would be focused on sections of trail near 17th Street and Park Avenue where there is land between the current trail and the roads.

“I’ve asked (Public Works) to come up with a plan, determine where the trail could go,” he said. “We would blacktop it, probably a six-foot-wide path. There may be some sections where we can’t do it at all, and there are places in the park where it is already a separate trail.”

In areas where a new, separate trail could be made, the old trail would then become additional parking spaces for events, he said.

“It is a necessary, positive move,” Newell said.