The idea of a bi-city bike trail is in the making for Edinburg and McAllen.

At last week’s city council meeting, Dr. John Edwards, Chelsea Bennem and Travis Hughes made a presentation about the benefits of having a hike and bike trail to the city council.

Some of the benefits would be recreational and health, tourism and it adds to green space and parkland.

“McAllen is often recognized for its birding,” Bennem explained. “Internationally, it gets a lot of tourists and by having this green hike land it’s effectively creating more tourism dollars to have that stretch of canal front.”

The canal corridor has a world birding center at one end and a botanical garden at the other. The actual trail is basically the same as the McCanalenburg trail. It is the canal trail that cuts through Ebony Hills Golf Course and heads west toward McAllen. Some funds have been awarded by the National Park Foundation for the project.

One concern that would rise with the community is crossing major roads while riding the trails. The solution would be to build pedestrian bridges over the major roads where the canal runs.

The cost of the entire project is just under $2 million. Costs include trail surface improvements at $217,958, native landscaping $272,448, bridge structures at $600,000, bridge ramps at $800,000, ROW/easement at $12,750 and design at $50,000.

The cost of maintaining the 4.3-mile trail on 104 acres is $215,878.

“We’re proposing that some of the maintenance cost be divided by the two cities and the irrigation districts to continue on these endeavors,” Hughes said.

Some of the funding sources include Texas Parks and Wildlife, TxDOT, National Park Services and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“City leaders 90 years ago understood the basic need of water in farming and in city building,” said Edwards, vice president of student affairs at UTPA. “We must now see the needs of these canals in another way as a park of city conjoinment, improved health and improved vistas of newly planted trees and shrubs giving shade to walkers, runners and cyclists.”