Mayor Don Wesely today announced that two sections of abandoned MoPac rail line have been acquired for the development of the Husker Link Trail Project, which will connect the UNL city campus with the MoPac trail. The sections acquired are from 18th to 19th streets and from 24th to 33rd streets.
"Many groups came together to make this possible, but major credit goes to the Great Plains Trails Network (GPTN), which has raised $125,000 -- half the amount needed to buy the land," Mayor Wesely said. "When completed, this important corridor will be a major link not only for our trail system in the city, but also for the trails extending east and south into Lancaster County."
The total cost of the trail project is about $2.7 million. The city Parks and Recreation Department will fund part of the trail construction from its budget. Additional private contributions will be raised for matching grants for trail construction. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to the Nebraska Trails Foundation, 5000 North 7th Street, Lincoln, NE 68521. Donors should indicate that their contributions are for the Husker Link.
Terry Genrich, Natural Resource Manager for the city Parks and Recreation Department, said efforts to acquire the land have been under way for about five years. The rail line was identified in the 1989 Master Trails Plan as an important corridor to acquire. In addition to the GPTN and the city, others involved in the project are the Railroad Transportation Safety District; the Clinton, Hartley, Malone and East Campus Neighborhood Associations; the North 27th Street business community; the University of Nebraska; and the Union Pacific Railroad.
Wynn Hjermstad, Manager of the Community Development Division of the city Urban Development Department, said the trail is an important part of several revitalization projects in the area. Those projects include drainage and storm sewer work funded by the recently approved bond issue and redevelopment of the area that includes Textron, Lincoln Lumber, ABC Electric, Commonwealth Electric and the Lincoln Housing Authority.
Work on the trail will begin after the drainage and storm sewer work is completed. No target date has yet been set for the trail to open.