EUREKA SPRINGS, AR -- The trails in Eureka Springs, once thought to lead to waters with healing powers, could do some healing of their own soon, according to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
"Where you can be in such an incredible city, with the Victorian architecture, all of the things Eureka has going for it, the rich history, and be able to see nearly all of it without having to get out of your car, " says Parks and Recreation Commission member, Bill Featherstone, when referring to the Commission's Master Trails Plan concept.
The plan would connect the some 30 miles of sprawling trails around town, with seven new miles of dirt paths.
Featherstone says, in addition to helping market the city as an outdoor destination, it would also alleviate current problems.
"Too many narrow roads, too few sidewalks, and too little parking," he describes.
The plan would cost roughly $250,000. Money would be used to make the new pathways and bridges and put in steps where necessary. Featherstone says the new trail system would also provide safer routes for walkers and bikers to shops in town or to school.
"When you consider what we will get in return, for that it really doesn't seem like that much," says Featherstone.
"That would be great, it’s a lot like the what the 'Rails to Trails' does," says Margo Ellis, who's visiting from Michigan . She's referring to the Michigan initiative to transform old rail road tracks into hiking paths, "it brings people though town that way and it allows them to see things they've never seen before."
The Commission says it is getting some push back to its Master Plan Concept from concerned residents who are worried the trails would run through their property and could potentially invade their privacy or even allow easy access for criminals.
"The first thing we're going to do is stay away from homes as much as we can, but that's not possible everywhere," Featherstone says.
Where trails might encroach on homeowners fences, he says lighting or having law enforcement on patrol is a possibility.
According to the Commission, it still be roughly a week before the plan is finalized. At that point, it will go before the Eureka Springs City Council, a public hearing, then go back to the planning commission. The Parks and Rec Commission says the entire process could take up to three months.