Texas Township is one of the fastest-growing communities in the greater Kalamazoo region. With only one park, Texas Township offered fewer recreational opportunities than its neighbors. Demand for that park was so high that reservations to use its facilities had a one-year backlog! Township officials wanted to change that. This $560,000 project—a new Trailhead and non-motorized trail—grew from the Township’s Recreation Master Plan in an effort to address local recreational, public gathering and other needs.
Texas Township Hall is located near the intersection of 8th Street and Q Avenue, commonly known as “Texas Corners.” Texas Corners is the social, commercial and physical center of Texas Township. The Farmer’s Market, Pavilion, a restroom, and a new playground all are adjacent to the Township Hall.
The new, universally accessible non-motorized trail starts there and connects to Texas Drive Park, the Township’s only park, and further to Al Sabo Preserve. Along the way, it passes the Applegate and Rudgate Farms subdivisions. Eventually it will connect these users with 12th Street Elementary School, the Kal-Haven State Park Trail and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway.
The Al Sabo Preserve is a 741-acre water conservation and wellhead protection area owned by the City of Kalamazoo. There, hiking trails, six miles of mountain bike trails, and observation decks provide users both recreational and relaxation opportunities.
P&N’s design team mitigated impacts on the environment by using a cellular soil confinement system to reinforce the Farmer’s Market truck-parking area. The soil in the cells allows grass to grow over it, and rainwater to infiltrate through it. It looks to the untrained eye like trucks are parking on the lawn! The parking area is lit after dark using timed, energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Further, P&N’s team received clearance from the State Historic Preservation office and passed an endangered species review.
Much of the trail uses the outer edges of Kalamazoo County Road Commission’s right-of-way. This is right where most residents plant their trees. Trees provide wonderful aesthetic, cooling and stormwater management benefits. By working with several residents to acquire easements, this project was built with a minimum of tree damage or loss. Because they value trees, Texas Township planted 66 new shade trees along the trail and at the trailhead area.
The remainder of the trail follows a Consumers Power easement, and trail construction there caused minimum damage or inconvenience.