STARKVILLE — Although the Lynn Lane multi-use path won”t be quite as long as initially planned, members of Starkville in Motion are excited to see the project move forward.
According to project plans, the path will begin in McKee Park and follow Lynn Lane east to South Montgomery Street. It then will head north on South Montgomery Street and end at the intersection with Locksley Way — several blocks west of Mississippi State University.
Starkville In Motion, when dreaming up the Lynn Lane path four years ago, intended for it to continue east down Locksley Way and end at MSU. But a lack of funds has doomed the Locksley Way portion of the path — at least for now. It is still shown in plans, but is not yet planned for construction.
The projected cost of the path from McKee Park to South Montgomery and Locksley Way is roughly $1.67 million — up from the $1.5 million estimate city officials initially believed it would take to connect McKee Park to MSU.
The increased cost comes because the path now is planned to be constructed with concrete, not asphalt as initially planned, said Kevin Stafford, an engineer at Neel-Schaffer Inc. in Columbus. Asphalt might be cheaper up front, but concrete requires less maintenance and ends up being a “better” option, Stafford said.
On the other hand, because concrete is more expensive, the available moneys will fund less trail.
Ron Cossman, a member of Starkville in Motion and a key player in the Lynn Lane project, said in an e-mail he was just glad to see progress being made after four long years.
“I think the Board of Aldermen passed the best plan possible under the circumstances,” Cossman said. “Of course Starkville in Motion would have liked to see the entire multi-use path built. But while it is shorter and does not connect MSU to the path, it is better because the engineers made the longevity argument for concrete, as opposed (to) asphalt, for the path”s surface.”
The city has to provide a 20 percent match for a $1.5 million Federal Highway Administration grant to pay for the project. The city will end up dishing out more than $300,000 for its portion of the projected costs using moneys from the recently passed $3 million bond issue.
To continue up Locksley Way all the way to Spring Street would cost an additional $650,000 or more, according to Neel-Schaffer estimates.
Even though the path isn”t planned to connect to MSU yet, Starkville In Motion President Devon Brenner said it still could provide recreational opportunities for people who live along the route. And she called the shortened trail a “reasonable compromise.”
“The Lynn Lane path is an important first step in connecting our city with a network of sidewalks and trails,” Brenner said. “I”m excited about the potential.”