It has been almost a year since the completion of the paved trail by the Leesville Community Library, which provides a convenient shortcut between Whitley Drive and the Leesville school complex.
Last April, I wrote about the plan for the trail, which was just beginning construction at the time. Within two months, the actual trail had been completed, but surrounding landscaping and planting has for the majority of the 10 months since.
Trees, bushes and small grasses have been planted alongside the pavement, adding aesthetic appeal to the trail but also making it clear this is not a rural hiking path (if not already evident from the screened porches visible in surrounding neighborhoods). Some less-than-beautiful silt fences still line the planting areas, however, despite supposedly being removed in December.
The trail follows an easement for a few hundred yards before veering off into the woods. For a very short trail — only one-third of a mile — the designers have done a good job weaving the trail back and forth to make it seem more meandering and interesting.
Perhaps the best attribute of the trail (and certainly the reason for its existence) is convenience. The trail connects the Leesville community facilities and Country Trail with the North Forest and Breckenridge neighborhoods as well as the Hillburn Dr. area. It takes just five minutes to walk at a casual pace, while one can drive from one end to the other in two minutes (over a much longer distance).
Cayce Wagner, a resident of a neighborhood the trail runs behind, uses it often with her children. “We love having the trail behind our house,” she said. “It is far enough back that it does not disrupt the view of our wooded backyard, but it adds some great convenience for getting to the library and the playground.”
One thing lacking is a recognition of the noteworthy natural plants found along the route that were emphasized in the pre-construction plan. I could only locate a few Christmas Ferns, which had been almost overrun by the man-made plantings, and was unable to find the Fringetree and Pennsylvania Sedge identified before the trail was built.
Also lacking were other humans. Although convenient in a basic sense and fairly good-looking for a paved path, there just aren’t that many nearby residents willing to actually walk to their destination. A longer, less-developed loop trail on the other side of the library, moreover, will likely attract the recreational hikers in the community.