The Heritage Trails project, which connects parks and community fixtures such as the Simmons Center, Duncan Regional Hospital, Duncan Public Schools and the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, has been a Duncan dream since 2007.
The first phase, nicknamed the “ODOT (Oklahoma Department of Transportation) Phase” is underway according to Scott Stone, chair of the Heritage Trail coalition.
The Heritage Trail has a coalition that is made up of members of many of the fixtures which will be connected by the trail, as well as community members.
Stone told The Banner previously the first phase of the project will connect the Simmons Center through the Heritage Center property and down Whisenant past the hospital and Horace Mann Elementary all the way to Whisenant Park.
“The first is the ODOT phase, we have a federal grant that is paying for 80 percent of that,” Stone said. “Cost is approximately 1 million dollars to construct. The ODOT grant is going to provide approximately $800,000 dollars and then we already have matching funds to provide the rest.”
This section is already being constructed.
“Extremely exciting, as you know this has been a 10 year process,” Stone said.
Stone said no City of Duncan money is being used on the trails, it was all funded completely by donations and fundraising, with Duncan Regional Hospital and The McCasland Foundation as the two largest contributors.
The second phase is called the “nature park” area, which will contain lots of greenery, public art and the donor wall for the trail. This trail is on a majority of Duncan Regional Hospital land.
“WW Builders is going to be constructing the second part — the nature park, so they’re going to be fast and furious,” Stone said. “It’s going to happen, we still have a little money to raise but we are far enough along that we feel comfortable getting started.”
The nature park will also showcase the reason it is called “The Heritage Trails” as it will highlight four major areas of the history of Duncan. The areas are Crude (Oil), Cotton, Cattle and the Chickasaws.
“We’re to tell a story (on the trail) we have Phil Leonard, a local former attorney, he has some write ups on various aspects of the area,” Stone said. “We want to incorporate those on the plaques so it tells the story of the Crude, the Cotton, Cattle and the Chickasaws. This is not just going to be a walking or running experience but this will also be an educational one.”
The park will have lights throughout and the committee is looking into placing emergency call boxes, which citizens can use to contact law enforcement should the need arise.