City officials and community members cheered and clapped as Mayor Don Keil snipped red ribbon in half officially opening Park West’s newest pedestrian bridge on Tuesday.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the Parks and Recreation bond project voted for in 2013, which included the construction of Park West. It also marked the completion of the Park West Sidewalk Project, Seguin Parks and Recreation director Jack Jones said.

The Park West Sidewalk Project consisted of the construction of new sidewalks along North Vaughn Avenue, San Antonio Avenue and within Park West as well as the addition of the pedestrian bridge over Walnut Branch.

“We’re very proud of it and so proud that it’s on the west side — a place that really needs this kind of avenue. It’s been very underserved for many years and we’re very proud to see it open on this side of town,” Mayor Don Keil said. “What’s great about it is people from all over the city can use it.”

There is now a 1-mile concrete trail that is within the park and forest area, that connects to the Walnut Springs trail as well as a 1-mile sidewalk that goes along the east side of North Vaughan Avenue from Court Street to San Antonio Avenue, and on the south side of San Antonio Avenue from North Vaughan Avenue to Guadalupe Street.

The Texas Department of Transportation assisted in the project with the installation of the bridge, which spans about 155 feet, along North Vaughn Avenue over the creek.

“These sidewalk connections allow folks that live on the west side of Seguin — especially along North Vaughn and Guadalupe Street — to walk, jog, bike to Park West safety,” Jones said. “Whenever it’s raining when the Walnut Branch has water going through it the bridge allows people to cross without walking on North Vaughn.”

Former City Councilman Tomas Castellon expressed his excitement with the project that he helped spearhead more than five years ago.

“Between 2008 and 2016, during my two terms, I’d been fighting for a bridge here because when the creek here on San Antonio Avenue would flood the kids would walk down here and walk across the street,” he said. “People here on Vaughn don’t slow down and it’s kind of scary for the kids who have to wait on one side to make sure there’s no cars coming. That’s what I fought for. I’m just grateful that it’s built.”

The project was funded by both the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city of Seguin, Jones said.

“The AAMPO contributed about $900,000 and the city had to match some of that money, but they also had to pay for engineering, design and construction so the city invested about $900,000 to $1.8 to $1.9 million total,” he said.

Keil said he is very happy for the completion, adding that this is only the beginning of the improvements the city has planned for the parks.

“We’ve got more to do to our park system especially with this (Walnut Springs Trail Extension) project,” he said. “The trail will go all the way to Starcke Park eventually. At this point a lot of planning is going on on the extension from behind St. James Church and Convent Street at the bridge there along the banks at Austin Street into Starcke park.”

 

Valerie Bustamante is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at valerie.bustamante@seguingazette.com.

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