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XC course expansion on horizon

Funding secured, construction could begin this week

Posted: September 4, 2010 11:10 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The expansion of the cross country course at Central Park could begin as soon as this week, according to Rick Gould, Santa Clarita's Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

Gould, who has spearheaded the project the last few months, said earlier this week that he's gotten firm funding commitments from Newhall Land Development LLC, the Santa Clarita Valley Athletic Association and the city itself.

The three are expected to contribute a total close to $70,000, according to Gould.

"We continue to move forward, continue to make progress," Gould said. "We expect to have something for the fall runners."

The William S. Hart Union High School District has also committed to funding the project, but a specific amount has yet to be determined, Gould said.

Gould is also waiting on graders who have surveyed the land and will present their recommendations about constructing the course.

A redesign of the course at Central Park has been a topic of conversation for several years. In recent months, Gould and the city have worked with the local running community to get something done.

As Central Park currently stands, the course doubles back on itself and takes runners on a flat trail that includes gravel and sharp turns. The proposed additions would add more elevation to the course by taking the runners up into the hills, which has been a problem in the past due to a water-treatment plant that is under restriction from the Department of Homeland Security.

The trail would also include a stretch of open space in the southeastern corner of the park, and a connection road between Newhall Ranch Road and the park that would tie the course together.

Once the additions get approved and the funding is straightened out, Gould said the reconstruction process won't take too long.

Only one of the three Foothill League cross country races is scheduled to take place at Central Park this season. That race will take place on Thursday, Oct. 14.

"We don't think the construction time will be much beyond one or two weeks," Gould said. "It'll go quickly. It's just a matter of getting the paperwork."



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