More bikable paths in Lafayette, Acadiana?

Courtesy of The Advertiser

After a four-year hiatus, organizers hope to revisit plans for a vehicle-free path around the Lafayette Regional Airport that would eventually connect to Breaux Bridge.

Transportation Recreational Alternatives in Louisiana, or T.R.A.I.L., celebrated the first phase of the Atakapa-Ishak Trail in 2012 at Parc San Souci downtown.

The pedestrian and bicycle trail currently runs from downtown, through Freetown and ends at Fisher Road, but plans are in the works to connect the trail to Breaux Bridge, St. Martinville, Henderson, Opelousas and Krotz Springs.

T.R.A.I.L. representative Scott Schilling met with airport officials last week to ask for support for the loop around the airport. The last trail presentation heard by the commission was four years ago.

“In 2011, I went the airport commission to make the same presentation. This presentation is about continuing Atakapa-Ishtak Trail, which right now stops at Vermilionville,” Schilling said. “Just getting to the airport by itself creates an outstanding trail. This is probably one of our top priorities as an organization.”

A $100,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana funded construction of the first phases of the AI trail. LCG, the Lafayette Metropolitan Planning Organization, T.R.A.I.L. and the Community Foundation of Acadiana also contributed to the project.

City-Parish President Joey Durel commended the opening of a trail in 2012 as an attraction for outdoor activity.

The next phase of the path will funded by T.R.A.I.L.’s other projects.

“We will seek out various type funding sources whether direct corporate support, grants or individual contributions,” Schilling said. “We can get a basic dirt path built with a few bridges and some minor amenities with support from a few sponsors.”

The trail’s first annual event may begin this fall. The organization is designing a run during one of the region’s biggest festivals.

“We are planning to put on a run from Festival Acadiens et Creoles in Girard Park to the airport and back to inaugurate the trail.” Schilling said. “The sponsorship and registration fees will be ear marked for to help fund ongoing improvements of this section of the Atakapas-Ishak Trail.”

For more informable about T.R.A.I.L. visit latrail.org/web/

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