EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The city of Sunland Park is planning on building a new trail system that would connect with the Paso del Norte trail system in El Paso, as well as a river walk with businesses along the trail.
The Paso del Norte Trail in El Paso spans roughly 68 miles long. Sunland Park’s River trail would connect with that trail system.
“That’s about 5.78 miles and it would start roughly around the Anapra area, right around the racetrack area when you come off the freeway,” said Sunland Park City Manager Michael Martinez. “There’s a couple of trail alignments that would come up that area and then it would follow the river itself all the way until you get to Country Club Road, which is where the El Paso portion of the river trail takes off from.”
The city began conducting a trails masterplan to help spur the development of a regional hike and bike trail system and last week, the city hosted an open house inviting the community for an informational meeting.
“About 40 participants showed up. We’ve had a master plan approach over the last several weeks, which started late in April. For three weeks, we had surveys out both in English and Spanish. We had about 91 participants in those items as well,” Martinez said.
Talks about a potential river walk have also been in the works for a few years which is different from the proposed river trail.
Martinez explained that the river trail is more of a trail system for walking, hiking and biking.
“Those type of activities along the river would bring out more of the sports tourism, more of the hiking, biking and walking multi-modal approach to help more people come and go out of the city,” said Martinez. “That’s also building on any major streets. For example, McNutt Road, where we already have current walking trails and bike trails.
“And we want to make sure we utilize more and, because our community is a little bit older, they utilize a lot of walking and biking and bus travel within the area,” he said. “So, we want to make sure we give them better ways to be able to move throughout the community.”
The river walk project is more of a commercial venture for shops and restaurants along the river.
“That would probably be the river trail that they are walking on, but that’s more of the river walk concept and it would be more along the entertainment corridor that we’ve identified through our strategic plan,” Martinez said. “It would roughly be, off of Sunland Park Drive, that crossway at Sunland Park and McNutt, where the river is at.”
With multiple forms of funding for planning, the city of Sunland Park hopes to start construction, at least in portions, within the next few months.
Martinez said that as the city gets more commercial and residential development, especially along the river or on different portions of the river, Sunland Park is hoping that those areas can start to develop along with the trail system.
One of the main things the city is focusing on is updating local ordinances within Sunland Park so that there’s more open space and more trails to be incorporated into the community.
“You see a lot of that right now that’s growing in the El Paso area, we’re trying to grow that here within the Sunland Park, N.M., area as well,” he said.
But he said increased prices may be a concern for residents.
“What we are starting to work with developers on is including that as part of their commitment when they build,” Martinez said. “So that won’t necessarily be something that increases taxes, but it will be a part of when someone decides to buy a home within the community, that’s kind of a cost that’s going to be built into the home price.”