Finishing Portneuf Greenway could take 75 years

POSTED: 10:18 PM MST Nov 14, 2012    UPDATED: 11:12 AM MST Nov 15, 2012 
POCATELLO, Idaho -

The Greenway Foundation said it could take 75 years until the planned path is fully completed.

Currently the Portneuf Greenway is made up of a bunch of walking and biking paths scattered throughout the Gate City, most of them disconnected from the rest.

Those in the Greenway Foundation want to link these paths together and at their annual meeting said it means a lot more than just a place to walk.

"There's been a lot of studies done that link greenways or greenbelts, walking and biking paths, to economic development, to the quality of life in a community,” Portneuf Greenway Foundation Executive Director Tamara Code said.

The group brought in Dan Harelson to put together a plan for the greenway showing where the group hopes to put paths in and which areas take priority.

So far the greenway has only finished about 11 miles, and Harelson said just completing the foundations short- and medium-term goals could take 32 years.

But greenway supporters hope changes in how they do things could speed up that timetable.

"It doesn't have to be that way. That's just building it at the current rate we've been going. We can speed that up. We can do it faster if we have the support and the money,” Portneuf Greenway Foundation board member Stan Christensen said.

In the more short term, within the next year or two, the group plans on extending and improving a few trails systems and taking the walking paths to some new neighborhoods.

"We are going to some of the under served areas of Pocatello that don't have any trails yet. And we've had some interest. The people want them there. So we're going to go put up some trails,” Code said.

But it does take quite a lot of money -- according to greenway estimates, at least $100,000 per mile, often quite a bit more.