Teresa Argenbright Wordsmith

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Professional/Community Improvement - Excerpt from a request to a private foundation for active transportation funding

Excerpt from a grant application to a private foundation on behalf of the Circuit Trail Conservancy, a fund of the Dallas Foundation. The application is under review.

Summary:

The Circuit Trail Conservancy's (CTC) initial and primary goal is the design and construction of four connectors that will unify The Loop, moving it from a fragmented series of paved segments to an integrated 50-mile system of trails that offers Dallas citizens and visitors the myriad positive effects that will follow.

This goal will be met by raising the necessary funds from public and private resources. The CTC has established beneficial relationships with the following to ensure the support of both sectors: Mayor Mike Rawlings, the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, The Real Estate Council, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Dallas County and at least 14 private citizens.

The design of the four connectors is complex and costly. The connectors will be built in areas that demand attention to existing freeway traffic, the DART railway system, natural wetlands and untouched wooded areas. The CTC is actively involving the Friends of Katy Trail and Friends of Trinity Strand for input on trail safety and the Army Corps of Engineers and the Trinity Trust for expertise regarding environmental and planning issues.

When the four connectors are completed, the CTC estimates The Loop will serve a wide cross-section of Dallas socio-economic diversity, being easily accessible to 80% of the City's residents. The Completed Loop will offer the City a key differentiating amenity that will trigger:

1) Economic stimulation -- since the Katy Trail opened in 2006, Uptown property values have increased nearly 80%, according to the Uptown Business Improvement District. Further, the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking reports that shoppers on bicycles visit stores more often and spend more within a month's time than shoppers in vehicles.

2) An increase in tourism and residency -- studies show that bike trails and other active transportation infrastructure encourage visitors to stay longer, spend more and return more often.

3) A safe and healthy transportation option, possibly minimizing the burden of traffic congestion. Most importantly, completion of The Loop will unite neighborhoods, enriching the daily life in our City by connecting people to nature and each other.

The CTC respectfully requests the support of (private) Foundation for this project, as it will positively benefit the Foundation's pillars of health and education in the forms of physical activity and outdoor education for Dallas schools. The third pillar, poverty relief, also may be affected as economic development helps diminish the existence of food deserts in some sectors of the City.

 

Teresa Argenbright