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ODOT, City of Mustang start process to revamp Wild Horse Park trail project

The Wild Horse Park existing trail is a frequently used amenity within the Mustang community, and offers many with an option to enjoy the Mustang’s park system. (Photo by Jacob Sturm)

By Jacob Sturm

A 17-year old project the City of Mustang agreed to with the Oklahoma Department of
Transportation may soon be seeing progress.

Mustang City Council members met last week for their January city council meeting, and of the
items discussed came a project listed as Mustang Trails Phase 1. David Russell, the Project and
Stormwater Manager for the City of Mustang, elaborated on the project, saying it was coined as
a Phase 1 project when introduced originally before other Trail projects were completed. Now,
the project is merely an addition to the trails system in the city.

“The particular section is a section of sidewalk that will connect basically Highway 152 next to
the Fire Department and run up all the way North between the branches and the pines in the
Hunter’s Glen addition and connect into the existing trail in the southwest corner of Wild Horse
Park,” Russell said.

The project was originally started in 2007, with the city being approved for funding in 2008.
Russell said the project had some engineering complications the next few years, with the city
shifting their focus to other parts of the city like water and sewer construction which became a
higher priority at the time.

Eventually, the project fell off of ODOT’s construction plan and then ODOT reallocated those
funds to other issues they were concerned with.

“Because this is a federally funded project, the funds were originally through a federal
program,” Russell said. “So, because it was federally funded, ODOT’s allowed to basically
manage the project for us. They can handle the environmental study that’s involved in it for a
federal program and things like that.”

ODOT also handles an expensive environmental process that would typically be expensive for a
municipality to take on. As a result, the partnership between ODOT and cities like Mustang can
be considered mutually beneficial.

“… The fact that we’re able to partner with ODOT, and ODOT manages some of the
construction and environmental clearances and things like that, (it) becomes a significant
benefit to the city,” Russell said.

Mustang recently saw a proposal for a multimodal continuity plan, which Russell had been
working on since starting with the city about six months ago. He said the addition to the trail
system discussed at the city council meeting last week would not be a part of the plan as it was theoretically addressed long before. The multimodal plan is also a different grant source,
making the project separate from the recently discussed trail connection.

When Russell brought the information to ODOT’s attention, he said they found the original
award and found money within their system to replace it for the city.

That money will go toward a new sidewalk to connect existing parks trail system and the
highway sidewalk system.

“We are just now starting this,” Russell said. “We’re going to start the engineering. We’re going
to kick off the environmental (aspect). It will be a couple of years before this sidewalk ever gets
constructed. It’s in the very infantile stages, but at this point the first thing to do was establish a
funding agreement with ODOT to lock in their portion of that funding.”

Once completed, Russell hopes the benefits for the community are clear through an additional
option for multimodal travel.

Russell thanked ODOT for their help and partnership with the city.

Mustang City Manager, Tim Rooney, also shared his thanks to Russell during the city council
meeting Tuesday of last week.

“David does great things with ODOT and has more patience than I ever will,” Rooney said. “He’s
exactly the right person to do what he is doing.”

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