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Pawnee Trail being considered
Grant application filed
Fort Larned 5-31 036
A proposed walking-biking trail would improve access to the Fort Larned National Historic Site. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

LARNED — Camp Pawnee and the Fort Larned National Historic Site would improve access for pedestrians and cyclists under a $2.6 million grant application for a proposed Pawnee Valley Community Trail Project.
The 13 miles of eight-foot wide trailed paving would run to Camp Pawnee and the Fort Larned National Historic Site from the west edge of Larned.
The Larned city council gave their approval recently for a grant application of more than $2.6 million for the Pawnee Valley Community Trail Project to the Public Lands Highways Discretionary Program.
An access tunnel would be planned under K-156 in the north side of town.
Estimates by Benesch Engineering calculates the $2.6 million project allows $2 million for 13 miles of trail and $250,000 for the tunnel.
Larned City Manager Don Gaeddert said the city received an inquiry requesting an application. There is a fast-paced process that involves awarding of the project to a contractor by the end of the year. Such work as engineering and easement acquistion must be done.
“It’s a tight time frame, but you always love to get grant funding for such things as engineering design and survey work,” he said.
Gaeddert said that city staff has worked up estimated construction and engineering costs. The city of Larned council voted to provide up to $50,000 of in-kind labor for the project.
City of Larned officials met in 2010 with Mary Hanson, who works with the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program in the National Park Service in Omaha, Neb. Various routes to Fort Larned were considered, some that included the Larned State Hospital and the Santa Fe Trail Center.
If successful, the grant pays 100 percent of the project cost. The transportation improvement plan must provide access to federal land, such as the Fort Larned National Historic Site.
The trail, consisting primarily of a concrete walking path, plans to provide access in connecting the community’s school facilities and parts of the city’s northern section to Camp Pawnee and Fort Larned National Historic Site.
Gaeddert said that the Pawnee Valley Community Trail Project would compete against several other statewide projects seeking funding.
The Public Lands Highways Program was established in 1930 by the Amendment Relative to Construction of Roads through Public Lands and Federal Reservations. The intent of the program is to improve access to and within the nation’s federal lands. The Federal-Aid Highway Act changed the funding from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund in 1972.