Purgatory Creek to become ADA accessible


San Marcos resident hiking through Purgatory Creek Natural Area Photo credit: Christopher Green

Christopher Green

The San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department has started construction at Purgatory Creek to create ADA-accessible trails.

The construction began Sept. 11 and will take place on Dante’s trail as well as a new trail being designed to accommodate people with physical disabilities. Planned completion by MAC Inc., a company specializing in infrastructure projects, is set for spring 2020.

Bert Strateman, parks operations manager, said the city is working to make various trails more friendly and open to the public.

“We want the trails to be easier to access for families and people with physical disabilities,” Strateman said. “We want people to be mindful of some of the heavy equipment during construction.”

According to Strateman, making the park ADA accessible has taken about five years and will cost approximately $550,000. The Parks and Recreation Department had to consult with Texas Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Additionally, Stratemen said it is a federal requirement for parks and recreation facilities to comply with ADA standards.

“It is a demand on the federal level, so we try to have it in all of our parks so people with disabilities can come; it helps able-bodied people as well,” Strateman said.

Trey Jones, an owner of MAC Inc., said the company will be redoing Dante’s trail and cutting a new trail, which will be ADA compliant.

“Part of the project is making an ADA-compliant crushed limestone trail,” Jones said. “Then there is another portion of it where it will be an improved trail for intermediate biking. We’re going to try and smooth the paths out and make them more bike-friendly so it’s not so rough.”

Jones said the existing trails being worked on will not be completely closed off, but there may be an exception for certain sections.

“We’re closing off sections of the trail we’re working on and putting up signs warning people we’re moving equipment to the site,” Jones said. “We’re trying to inform everyone to be cautious.”

Ashley Miller, San Marcos resident who frequents Purgatory Creek, said she is excited about the repairs and new trails but is concerned some of the paths may not retain a naturesque feel.

“I think it’s good the city wants to make a new trail to accommodate people with disabilities, but I am worried anything done to Dante’s trail could make the park feel less inhabited with wildlife,” Miller said. “It could have a negative effect if lots of people flood the park.”

For more information about the developments at Purgatory Creek, visit the Parks and Recreation Department webpage.

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