After four years of planning, Mesquite has started work on a 4.4-mile hike and bike trail that connects schools, parks and retail areas.
The Mesquite Heritage Trail will run along Towne Centre from Interstate 30 to Interstate 635. The trail will feature three trail heads, an exercise station, a pedestrian bridge and other improvements.
"Not only is it a recreational amenity for the residents of Mesquite, it's also a transportation project," said Cliff Keheley, city parks and recreation director. "It's very exciting. It's going to be the largest recreational amenity once this phase is complete."
The trail also gives direct access to the border of Garland, near the Dallas Area Rapid Transit center.
"We want to make sure residents have transportation choices, and this is just one of many opportunities that people can use -- they can ride their bike to a bus transfer station and they can connect to the DART system," Keheley said.
The city funded 20 percent of the $4.7 million project through the Mesquite Quality of Life Corp. Fund. The rest of the funding came from regional toll revenue.
Residents said the trail would give neighbors a chance to walk in a safe environment.
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"I think it's great," Mariah Kirby said. "It's just great for bikers in order to get exercise and to have fun sometimes. Even mothers, daughters, anybody can go."
The first phase of the trails and sidewalks will be finished in the spring.
Phase two of the project will extend south of U.S. 80, making the trail about seven miles long.