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July 15, 2014

School board OKs concept for trail on FHS campus

The school board approved a letter of intent to donate right-of-way for the trail extension, but not for the adjacent road.
There’s been a lot of discussion over the years, and I’m glad to see it moving forward.
— School board member Duke Bland (Marshall District)
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Plans for expanding Fauquier’s trail network — and connecting two busy recreational facilities in Warrenton — took a major step forward Monday night.

The school board unanimously agreed that it plans to donate right-of-way for extension of the Timber Fence Trail at Warrenton’s western edge.

The 3,300-foot trail extension would run through Fauquier High School’s campus, just west of the baseball and softball fields.

Ultimately the trail would connect Rady Park and the WARF (Warrenton Recreational and Aquatic Facility), across Waterloo Road from the FHS campus.

“There’s been a lot of discussion over the years, and I’m glad to see it moving forward,” school board member Duke Bland (Marshall District) said before the 5-0 vote.

The board authorized Superintendent David Jeck to sign a letter of intent, supporting donation of the right-of-way. The school system would not contribute to the trail’s construction cost, estimated at $440,000.

Funding for the project remains uncertain.

“I don’t think it would be fair for the town to bear the entire cost,” said Warrenton Councilman Bob Kravetz (Ward 4), who chairs the council’s recreation committee.

Warrenton will fund the next step, engineering for the trail, Mr. Kravetz said.

That final design will determine whether the school board follows through with the right-of-way donation.

The board of supervisors has modest funds earmarked for trails in the five-year county capital improvement’s plan.

Still, “that’ll be the tricky part,” Center District Supervisor Chris Granger said of paying for the trail extension.

While the county probably will provide some funding, “that’s within town limits and in their purview,” Mr. Granger added.

He thinks the town could qualify for matching grants to build the extension.

No timetable exists for building the trail extension, which would cover about sixth-tenths of a mile.

“But, it’s on the front burner,” Mr. Kravetz said.

He and the Center District supervisor agree the extension would vastly improve the community trail network, offering opportunities for recreational use and for students walking to and from FHS.

Town officials also have pressed school system leaders to donate more right-of-way for potential extension of Timber Fence Parkway, which would link Waterloo Road and Bear Wallow Road. The first section the parkway heads west from Bear Wallow and separates the Olde Gold Cup and Silver Cup subdivisions.

But, the school board Monday night made clear its intention to move very deliberately on that request.

The road would run just west of the proposed trail extension, between the FHS campus and the new, 17-lot Stonecrest subdivision.

Warrenton commissioned this study on the proposed Timber Fence Trail extension, with “Option A” as the selected route:

4.2 Timber Fence Trail Alignment Options by Fauquier Now

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TodNehman · July 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm
It is great yes, but how many years have we waited for the Warrenton Greenway to be extended? About 10 I think? There are signs saying it will open in the spring of 2015...That's about 8 months away and not one foot has been cleared and paved. So I remain hopeful for this but little more, given the town and county track record for not keeping recreation trails a priority. Trails equal safety for walkers, joggers, and cyclists.....none of who's safety appear to be of much value around here.
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