Imagine Abilene having what could be considered a huge city park, stretching from Kirby Lake all the way north to Lake Fort Phantom Hill. It's a vision a group of people are hoping will become reality.
Early one weekday morning, Randy Barnett met a group of Hardin-Simmons University students for a quick hike. They're in an economics class, studying how this stretch of land could benefit Abilene.
Barnett and the folks behind the Cedar Creek Waterway project feel their vision for a series of park spaces linked by hiking, biking, and jogging trails, could become a true gem for everyone in the Big Country to enjoy.
"And essentially, over time literally you'd have a huge central park right here in the middle of town that's connected all the way from South 11th all the way to North 10th street with all sorts of different activities," Barnett said.
The vision is actually already in the city of Abilene's parks master plan completed in 2008. And not-for-profit group has been formed to organize the effort. There are some hurdles. While a vast majority of the land is available for the group to use, some privately owned spots would need to be acquired. And of course, money needs to be raised. Still, Abilene city leaders are on board.
"I see these as pretty low hurdles because there's a lot of excitement and momentum about the project. I think we can make it work," Gilley said.
"You don't have to go out and negotiate for years for pieces of property or bulldoze anything, I mean, it's already gone," said Barnett.
Right now he hopes folks will simply take a hike, see the potential that exists, and join in on the movement.
You will soon have the opportunity to walk the Cedar Creek Waterway. The mayor's fall hike will be held along the Cedar Creek Waterway at the end of October.
Clcik here for more information on the Cedar Creek Waterway.