Group seeks money to build trail system along Spring Creek area The Woodlands Tx is looking outside its boundaries for some of the funding to build a seven-mile park along Spring Creek.

The Woodlands Association homeowners board has applied for a $100,000 grant through National Recreational Trails Funds in Texas
to establish some paved and unpaved trails in Creekside Park, an 1,800-acre rustic park planned in The Woodlands' newest village, also called Creekside Park. The community hopes to get a matching grant from Montgomery County to help fund trails in the Spring Creek project.""I'm hoping the TWA and The Woodlands Development Co. will have very little cost for this,"" said Joel Deretchin, president of the TWA and vice
president of public affairs for The Woodlands Development Co. ""For other amenities and facilities, we aretrying to get other sponsors.""

Trail system
The Woodlands Development Co. has laid out a trail system for the new park, which consists of a single, paved pathway running the
length of the first three miles of the park and a series of soft, circular trails running off the main pathway. These can be used for
runners, bikers, birders and equestrians, to name a few. This first phase of the trail project is expected to cost $295,000 and would be
expanded in the future.

County officials said they are in discussion with The Woodlands for possible funding of a matching grant. Deretchin said he also hopes
to approach Harris County for additional funding for the project, since the village is located in its jurisdiction. ""I think it's a good idea,"" said Precinct 3 Commissioner Ed Chance.

Greenbelt project
Creekside Park will be one section of a 33-mile greenbelt that is expected to stretch along Spring Creek from Interstate 45 to FM
2978. The system will connect many existing area parks, such as the Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center in Humble, John Pundt
Park in Spring, Cyrpresswood Golf Club, Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Burroughs Park, Montgomery County Preserve and South Montgomery County Sports Complex.

The National Recreational Trails Fund, which offers grants from $4,000 to $100,000, can be used to construct or renovate trails, or
to create trail heads or acquire trail corridors. Deretchin also said he plans to ask the community's legislative action committee to lobby
for more funds for Texas Parks and Wildlife, which has dried up over the years.

The proposed trail system, the first phase of which would be about three miles, would have a few low-water bridge crossings. The
community is also examining a new asphalt track that cushions runners' steps and holds water better. Much of the property will be
located in a flood plain of Spring Creek. Chance said the county has not made a determination on how it will proceed with the project, but he said he is open to ideas. Meanwhile, several businesses and groups have come forward for ideas for cooperative ventures at the new park.

Community effort
The South Montgomery County YMCA signed a letter of intent to run day camps out of the new park and to build a small branch facility in
Creekside Park. ""It's an official statement that we are very interested in the project and we want to continue forward with negotiations,"" said Darwin Barnett, executive director of the North Group of the YMCA Houston region.

The YMCA plans include an outdoor education component as well as a branch facility for members. The outdoor education program would consist of a 12,000- to 15,000-square-foot exhibit hall and outdoor programming, many in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Department of Agriculture as well as 4-H Clubs. The plan also includes remote features such as a large treehouse, a ropes course, an alpine tower and tepees. ""Families and kids will have the opportunity to learn an experience the outdoors through unique programs,"" Barnett said.
The branch facility, which also would be 12,000 to 15,000 square feet, would offer cardiovascular equipment, exercise equipment and a community room.

The facility also would have a large baby-sitting area so that parents can use the surrounding trail system. Other running or biking clubs have offered assistance in building or maintaining trails in the park. Because of the availability of new equipment in Precinct 3, much of the work can be provided by county crews and volunteers, Deretchin said. Deretchin said he has had preliminary talks with another sports business that would like to partner on indoor-outdoor sports fields.

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