By Jen Bookhout
Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita are working with Prairie Travelers to sort through the details of just who is responsible for which parts of the Prairie Sunset Trail.
The Prairie Travelers recently sent letters to Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita seeking fulfillment of a promise they believed to have been made 10 years ago. However, it turns out the matter is not so cut and dried.
“We are trying to get a better understanding of who has what responsibilities,” Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said.
Prairie Travelers, a volunteer organization supporting the development of an inter-connected biking and hiking trail system in Kansas, was deeded the eight miles of the Prairie Sunset Trail extending from 167th Street West to 295th Street West ten years ago.
They said that at that time, Sedgwick County was deeded the mile between 167th Street West and 151st Street West, and the City of Wichita was deeded the expanse between 151st Street West and Hoover Road.
However, Peterjohn’s research into the issue determined that the two miles between 167th Street West and 135th Street West appear to be the property of Central Kansas Railroad. The one mile between 135th Street West and 119th Street West appears to belong to Sedgwick County.
The land between 119th Street West and Hoover Road is considered property of the City of Wichita. District IV City Council member Jeff Blubaugh wants to see the city invest in completion of the trail.
“I feel very strongly about it,” Blubaugh said. “I want to see it done.”
While nothing is official yet, Blubaugh said there has been talk of the City of Wichita taking responsibility for completion of the trail from 167th Street West to Hoover Road. The project is one of the top seven projects the city is looking at for the future, but discussion of the logistics still remain.
“I will do anything I can to champion this,” Blubaugh said. “I am open to conversation about how we can get this done.”
Ruth Holliday of Prairie Travelers is excited that members of the group have received responses from both Blubaugh and Peterjohn in effort to start the discussion.
“We just wanted to bring awareness to the council and Sedgwick County commission about the trail,” Holliday said.
Prairie Travelers do not wish to take control of the rest of the trail, but they are willing to help complete the project whenever and however they can, Holliday said.
The Prairie Travelers were scheduled to meet Wednesday night, Feb. 12 to discuss the response they have received. They expected plans for further discussions to be addressed during the meeting.