Leon Valley council votes to move forward with trail project

In 3-2 vote, motion fails to table hike and bike trail discussion

LEON VALLEY, Texas – The city of Leon Valley will move forward with plans for a 10-foot wide paved trail connecting Rimkus Park with San Antonio's Crystal Hills Park.

For the second week in a row, residents for and against the trail packed a city council meeting to hear the council discuss the issue.

After lengthy public comment, mostly in opposition of the trail, Councilman Benny Martinez made a motion to table discussion of the trail project until Bexar County completes a drainage project along Huebner Creek in 2017-2018.  

Mayor Chris Riley echoed the phrase used by many who oppose the project calling it a "trail to nowhere" because the path currently dead ends.

Leon Valley does not currently have the funds to complete the full sale of the path plan.

Riley says the city was not transparent with the development of the trail plan, adding that she was not properly informed during the process.

Councilman Abraham Diaz, Place 3, criticized Riley by questioning how she could have a lack of knowledge of the plans as mayor.

The motion to table discussion of the plan failed in a vote of 3 to 2.

Many oppose the trail because the paved path would go through the city's 36-acre natural area.

Those who support the project say the paved path would allow people with disabilities to better access the natural area.

But resident Belinda Ealy countered that point as she addressed the council Monday. Ealy, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, says she could freely travel through the natural area without a paved trail.

Another resident who opposed the trail played a video at Monday's meeting of Ealy traveling along unpaved paths.

"It was peaceful. It was quiet," Ealy said. "You didn't have the kids yelling from soccer fields. You didn't have people on bikes rushing through not taking in the sights, not smelling the flowers."

A supporter of the trail, Al Uvietta, argues Ealy's trek in a wheelchair is not possible.

"She did not go the entire trail because you can't make it," Uvietta said. "Because there are areas of the trail where it narrows down to this wide and there's two areas where it goes down into a drainage. I'd love for her to be able to drive the entire route."

There was no timetable discussed about the city's next steps for the paved trail.

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