By Brittany Anderson
Kyle is one step closer to being part of the trail system that will connect Austin to San Antonio through the Great Springs Project.
In a 6-1 vote, Kyle City Council approved the trail system, tentatively named The Vybe. The system will connect to new and existing trails in the city and feature different “vybes” along the trail, including restaurants, shops and amenities like bathrooms and parking.
Funding for The Vybe comes from a bond passed by residents in November 2020 that allocates $2 million for construction.
Council member Yvonne Flores-Cale voiced concerns with the use of concrete on parts of the trail, saying she would prefer material that is more porous. The task force has researched a variety of other materials to use instead of concrete, said City Manager Scott Sellers.
“The maintenance for porous material is extremely demanding,” Sellers said. “It creates a very expensive ongoing maintenance problem. Also, some of that material for porous pavement tends to not be so desirable from a recreational standpoint.”
Despite being part of the trail’s task force which spearheaded the project, the use of concrete was a dealbreaker for council member Dex Ellison. Concrete will take away from the outdoor trail experience, he explained.
“I think that’s the excitement of a trail,” Ellison told council. “Going out and being in nature, and not in a concrete and improved area. I think what we’re talking about doing here is a ‘multi-use path.’ I think there are opportunities for us to solidify and codify this plan…I cannot support this plan.”
Council members Michael Tobias and Robert Rizo also agreed that while some parts of the trail need to be kept natural, using concrete will provide a strong structure against extreme weather and allow for certain areas to be accessible during any type of weather. As such, Rizo voted to approve the trail system plan with the “understanding that we’re going to come back and look at some of these trails individually.”
Sellers told council that the trail system plan is a “living, breathing document” that will allow for changes and updates as the project moves forward.
“There’s a lot that is still forthcoming, but [passing this]signals the council’s intent that you’re committed to the plan,” Sellers said.
While it is unclear when construction in Kyle will begin, the entire Great Springs Project trail from Austin to San Antonio is expected to be completed by 2036.