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Old 11-21-16, 10:56 AM   #1
AusTexMurf
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Ten Rio Grande Valley communities sign on to hike-and-bike network plan

Ten communities sign on to hike-and-bike network plan
By STEVE CLARK Staff Writer

With completion of the Active Transportation & Active Tourism Plan, the groundwork has been laid for creation of a sprawling network of cycling and pedestrian routes connecting 10 communities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Mayors from several of those communities gathered Wednesday at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art to sign the “Active Plan.” Also on hand was state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large “A” Cesar de Leon and County Judge-Elect Eddie Treviño Jr., as well as representatives from BikeTexas, University of Texas School of Public Health-Brownsville and the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation.

Last year, the VBLF donated $100,000 for development of the Active Plan, with the 10 partner-communities kicking in an equal amount. The city of Brownsville led the effort, though stakeholders from Combes, Harlingen, Laguna Vista, Los Fresnos, Los Indios, Port Isabel, Rancho Viejo, San Benito and South Padre Island also worked to make it a reality.

Brownsville City Commissioner At-Large “B” Rose Gowen said the Active Plan features a few hundred miles of hike-and-bike trails, some along existing routes and others along routes that will have to be developed. The plan also features roughly 70 miles of paddling trails that stretch from SouthBay to the Arroyo Colorado via Laguna Madre and terminate in Harlingen.

Gowen said the network will turn the LowerValley into an “active-tourist destination,” or a destination for tourists who enjoy hiking and biking. Part of the benefit will be economic — especially when it comes to small business, she said.

“It will drive small business development, because active tourists thrive on small businesses,” Gowen said. “They really don’t want box stores and chain stores.”
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Ten communities sign on to hike-and-bike network plan - Premium - The Brownsville Herald
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