By Tonya Little
Dozens of mountain bikers, families and members of the community gathered at the ribbon cutting for the opening of Phase 2 of the Soldier Creek Industrial Park (SCIP) Recreational Trail system, which was held on Wednesday, June 24th. Mayor Matt Dukes and city leaders cut the ceremonial ribbon at the trailhead located at 7250 NE 23rd Street.
“I am extremely excited to have this as a part of ward 5,” said Christine Allen, Councilwoman of Ward 5
The Phase 2 trails were constructed on city land to the north of NE 23rd Street. Portions of the land were recently obtained from Oklahoma County for the trails. The original trail was approximately three miles and the expanded trail adds an additional three miles to the trail system.
“It’s created a lot of buzz in the cycling community in the metro area, and it’s really put ourselves on the map with mountain bikers, because they are usually after distance. By essentially doubling the distance we had initially, it’s really brought people out,” said Pete Singleton, Engineering and Project Manager in the Midwest City Community Development Department.
The new north trails are primarily three stacked loops, Green, Yellow and Red. A stacked looped is where successive trails loops are “stacked” upon each other, connecting in such a way as to give users options of extended distance or varied routes.
The trail is intended for use by mountain bikers, hikers, walkers, and dog walkers. Families can walk the trail and stop for a picnic. The original trail has also been used by the local Audubon Society for bird watching.
“Everything is ridable for everyone, there’s something here for everyone. If you don’t find it challenging enough you can simply go faster. What has really set SCIP apart in the OKC metro area, with families, is that they are able to come here with their children, and they all enjoy the ride,” said Singleton.
The new trail was built by a professional trail builder from Wisconsin who spent most of this past spring building the new phase. It takes the name of the Solider Creek Industrial Park that is immediately adjacent to the trail system.
“It was machine built by a contractor, Travis Bellman Home and Trail. He came in from February to May, and literally a one-man army on a machine, came in and cut us two and half miles of trail,” said Singleton.
The multipurpose trail was funded in part through Recreational Trail Grant funds, matched by city funding. Phase 2 used $240,000 in federal funds with $60,000 in matching city funds and $15,000 in in-kind labor and materials. Most of the funds were used for the pedestrian sidewalk under NE 23rd at the Crutcho Creek Bridge. Phase 2 funds were also used to expand the trailhead that was constructed with the original trail.
“Come out and enjoy it, there’s something here for everyone. You don’t have to be a mountain biker to come out and enjoy it. We welcome people to come walk it and enjoy being in nature,” said Singleton.