Lower Valley will have a Walking, Biking Trail Park
By Paula Diaz
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation has always emphasized the need for El Pasoans to get moving and exercise for optimum health.
Now the non-profit is helping to fulfill that goal by partnering with the City of El Paso and El Paso Water on the construction of a 3.4 miles area called Playa Drain Trail.
Stretching from Riverside to Ascarate parks, the park will feature recreation, walking and biking paths, benches, shade structures. Plenty of lighting will surround the park.
The cost of building the park will cost nearly $3 million. The Health Foundation contributed $2.5 million and the city added $300,000 for trail amenities. Construction has begun on the Ascarate Park side of the trail and move in one-mile segments until completed.
“This is a perfect example of a public-private-partnership (P3) coming together for the benefit of El Pasoans and enhancing parks, health and quality of life,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.
Playa Drain was purchased by El Paso Water for stormwater management and is allowing the area to be used as a trail. Once it is complete, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will maintain the trail.
“We are excited,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO, Paso del Norte Health Foundation, on the non-profit’s website. “The input from the community has been extraordinary and the support from all the partners make this trail the first of its kind for El Paso and one that residents will be proud of.”
The health foundation, which was established in 1995, leads and invests in initiatives, programs and policies that promote health and prevent disease in the Paso del Norte region. An estimated 30 percent of El Paso is sedentary and the majority of our population – about two-thirds of people – are overweight or obese. Many chronic diseases are associated with obesity, according to the foundation.
This is why projects like the Playa Drain Trail are so important and essential. The 3.4-mile trail will offer an opportunity for recreation and physical activity for use by residents throughout the region and as an alternative to driving for near-by residents, and part of the Health Foundation’s commitment to making active living the easy choice for residents in the region, Yellen added.
“The Playa Drain Trail is the ‘spark’ to what hopefully leads to a larger vision of a county line to county line trail that El Pasoans can enjoy while leading a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Marina Monsisvais, who is on the Paso del Norte Health Foundation board.”
The trail will be ready for residents by the end of August.