Memorial Park trail runners get a big surprise as new section of Seymour Lieberman Trail opens

by HomeDecorBeauty

It was her birthday and she was walking, not running, but 45-year-old Tammy Holmes and her co-worker Tony Clomax enjoyed the new section of Memorial Park’s Seymour Lieberman Trail, which opened Friday morning after about nine months of construction.

The new, third-of-a-mile section of the trail opened without much advance fanfare, as park officials wanted the new trail to be a happy morning surprise for those out for a walk or jog. This section diverts walkers and joggers from the noisy, exhaust-filled section of sidewalk that ran alongside Memorial Park.

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Now the experience is quiet, with a thick layer of crushed granite to protect runners’ joints, new landscaping and three pedestrian bridges to carry runners over ravines. Instead of noise, heat and the loud roar of cars whizzing by at 45 miles per hour, walkers and runners feel the cool shade of trees and, if they can look from the pass, they’ll see shallow pools of water in ravines. or the occasional glimpse of a fairway at the Memorial Park Golf Course.

One in a series of completed projects, this $4.2 million trail improvement is part of the 10-year master plan well underway at the 1,500-acre Memorial Park. This project, designed by landscape architect Lauren Griffith Associates — who are also responsible for the design of Discovery Green, Market Square Park and the McGovern Children’s Zoo — was funded by an Uptown Development Authority TIRZ and accelerated by a $70 million gift to the Memorial was given. Park conservation area.

Holmes said she’s training for a marathon later this year in Hawaii, and her love of parks isn’t just recreational. The Prairie View A&M University professor recently completed a documentary about parks, “A Legacy Lost & Found: Segregation in Recreation,” which looks at the historical exclusion from public parks that African Americans have faced. Holmes is getting it in film festivals now, and a trailer for it can be found on vimeo.

“People need to understand the importance of parks. Historically — national, local and state parks — are places where people gather to walk, run, bring their dogs, their babies, whatever,” Holmes said of the regular crowds at Memorial Park, especially those visiting the Seymour Lieberman Trail. “During the pandemic, more people have found an appreciation for coming here. It’s an investment. It’s more than a place, it’s where people and the park come alive.”

Work began on this new segment of running trails in January, exciting park staff and fans, as this much-discussed plan has been on the drawing board for years and wasn’t expected to be worked on until 2025, Randy Odinet said. vice president of capital projects and facilities at the Memorial Park Conservancy.

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The new section of the nearly 3-mile Seymour Lieberman Trail is located between the new bridge tunnels and the Eastern Glades, more projects in the master plan. The Eastern Glades were completed in two phases, and the bridge tunnels opened to traffic earlier this year, while the seeding of the native prairie that will cover them is still underway.

A new running complex with a 400m timing track and other facilities – including new toilets and a cafe – is now underway and is expected to be completed in early summer 2023. Then, a project called Memorial Grove, a more passive park area that will tell the story of the World War I camp that was once here, and then a new southern route with a pedestrian bridge over Crestwood and the East Memorial be tackled.

“We haven’t stopped working on anything since 2015,” Odinet said of the ambitious master plan for the park. “(This route work) is finished before it even starts. The tree canopy will make a huge difference in how comfortable it is on a hot afternoon, getting away from car exhaust right on the road. Users will enjoy how beautiful it’s as soon as they’re back in the trees.”

The new sections of the trail are 16 feet wide with a thick layer of crushed granite. The three pedestrian bridges range from 50 feet to 105 feet in length and are made of reinforced concrete with steel posts and wooden handrails.

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