Bringing back the bayou trail a project worth embracing
With all the grandiose projects being undertaken in West Memphis and the major emphasis on attracting eco-conscious to take advantage of the city’s bike and river trials it is only natural that efforts to revive plans to rehabilitate the Ten Mile Bayou Trail.
Many decades ago, and under the former Mayor Joyce Ferguson’s administration, that this idea to multi-purpose the bayou, put in an asphalt path and allow bikers as well as hikers to go from the Tilden Rodgers Sports Complex to the east end of the city.
While the project was started it never was totally completed and over the years it is pretty much abandoned with the exception of a stretch from the park to Clement Road. And, we have to say, that that portion is still highly popular and used on a daily basis mainly by locals right now.
There has been an off-and-on debate among West Memphis leaders as to the value of rehabilitating the trail and as we understand it, the project is back on the front burner, which as we have said should be.
This is a duel purpose endeavor that not only creates this eco-trail but also will improve the flow of the ditch, upgrades drainage culverts, removes long-standing debris and fixes bank erosion.
The way this will begin is that crews would start cleaning up the areas of the bayou near Barton and Rich Roads and work east through the city.
The city’s Public Works Commission approved the plan to improve the bayou coupled with a federal congestion mitigation grant but initially several city council members were confused over the exact details causing the project to be put on hold.
It was only recently that city leaders approved the rehabilitation project once they knew it would fit right in with all the other user-friendly projects designed to attract visitors to the city.
We’re told the planned new pavement will support small maintenance equipment necessary for work crews to properly keep the trail clear of debris and other issues.
Because the original bayou trail has been ignored and neglected for over three decades erosion has impacted some fencing and certain out buildings are in a state of disrepair.
But the trail is worth saving, if only so that people who are looking to get a grip on their health and get some exercise aren’t left without options that don’t involve expensive gym memberships or stuck walking or jogging on busy city streets.
There’s a lot to like about the natural setting of the bayou trail and many city residents might not even know or remember it exists.
We’re sure that if the trail gets the attention it deserves, it will become a welcome attraction to city residents and offer a little bit of the city’s natural beauty (no, really) for those looking to take a walk on the wild side — in a good way — in West Memphis.