Burnside remarks on Hike and Bike Trail ribbon cutting

Members of the Lexington Tree Board, City of Lexington, Lexington Public Schools and Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce were on hand for the duel ribbon cutting for the Northwest Hike and Bike trail and the 50 new trees planted.

LEXINGTON — This dedication and ribbon cutting today is serving double duty. Let me explain. We stand at the trailhead of Lexington’s Northwest Hike and Bike Trail Phase 1. Most of this trail follows what for many years was an irrigation ditch owned by Nebraska Public Power District. Only after the City finally acquired the land did we move forward with construction.

The completion last year of this Phase adds close to a mile to the City’s Master Trail Plan. The 10-foot wide concrete path, already seeing much use, stretches mostly west with a northerly angle to just past Independence Street, then cuts south to 20th Street. If you go west on 20th Street just past Independence, you’ll see the other terminus of this Trail Phase. The next Phase, being designed right now, will pick up from there and continue the Trail south through the park and to 13th Street.

Over the years The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, in concert with other Nebraska Tree organizations, has offered various grants of trees that the Lexington Tree Board has applied. Sometimes we get actual trees, a few at a time, but often we develop a plan, solicit bids, and agree to pay a portion of the cost of the tree installation and maintenance. We are proud to say that since 2009, these state programs have helped add more than 300 high quality trees to Lexington’s Urban Forest.

Last fall we became aware of a new round of TNT Grants. That’s “Trees for Nebraska Towns.” The Tree Board, seeing the long unbroken length of fresh concrete, realized an opportunity to improve and soften that landscape. We applied for 50 trees and our request was approved.

Thus, the second part of this dedication is to recognize these 50 TNT trees, some of which you see here but most of which stretch along this trail for eight-tenths of a mile. Now that these beautiful trees are sporting their first sets of leaves in their permanent home, it’s time.

As we cut the Double Duty Ribbon today, I want to thank the Lexington City Council, The Lexington Tree Board, City Manager Joe Pepplitsch, Kevin Lien and his crew at Lien Landscaping, the Lexington Parks Crew, the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce and Ambassadors, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, the Nebraska Forest Service, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and the Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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