Uvas trail extension to sports park under way

Beto Virgen learns how to rollerblade on the Uvas Creek Trail

Gilroy
– Local bikers and joggers will have another third of a mile to
enjoy along the Uvas Creek Trail by the end of the year, when
officials expect to complete the next phase of the scenic
pathway.
The two miles of paved trail currently stretches along the top
of the Uvas Creek levee in a southeasterly direction, from Third
Street to Luchessa Avenue.
Gilroy – Local bikers and joggers will have another third of a mile to enjoy along the Uvas Creek Trail by the end of the year, when officials expect to complete the next phase of the scenic pathway.

The two miles of paved trail currently stretches along the top of the Uvas Creek levee in a southeasterly direction, from Third Street to Luchessa Avenue.

The next stage of construction that began this week will extend the trail from the Luchessa Avenue bridge southeast toward the future site of the city’s sports complex.

“We’re bringing in all the infrastructure for the future sports park,” said Bill Headley, Gilroy’s facilities and parks manager. “One of the goals was to make sure we had a safe walk-in way to get into the sports park.”

The newest phase will add 2,090 feet of paved path to the existing trail. The trail will run under the Luchessa Avenue bridge, freeing bikers and others from having to cross traffic. The latest addition was made possible by grants totaling $520,000 from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The city’s master trails plan, approved in recent weeks, envisions extending the Uvas Creek trail in both directions. City officials are now working with landowners in the Hecker Pass area to ensure the trail is extended to Bonfante Gardens as part of development plans for the area.

At the same time, the city will use a $150,000 grant from the VTA to study and identify the appropriate trail path between Uvas Creek and Gavilan College. That study is expected to begin this summer.

Officials hope to complete the Bonfante connection within two to five years and the Gavilan College portion within the next decade.

The newest addition is expected to be complete in October 2005, although the city may hold off on officially opening the area to the public until Sept. 2006, when they expect to complete the first few fields of the sports complex. In the meantime, Headley encouraged residents to continue taking advantage of the portions already open to the public.

“There’s a fair amount of wildlife that frequents the levee, as well as human life and their canines,” he pointed out. “The levee is considered the spine of this community.”

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