Work begins on River Park ADA-accessible tral

Experiencing nature has shown to be beneficial for people by increasing relaxation and improving stress management, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

And now, the City of Petal is working to provide access to those benefits to all residents.

Construction has begun on the Petal River Park’s first ADA-accessible trail. The improvement to the trail is all thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Petal River Park was selected as a recipient for the $100,000 grant from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to complete this project as a part of the 2016 Mississippi Recreational Trails Program.

Valerie Wilson, Director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, has said the grant is specifically for the construction of an ADA-accessible trail and parking.

This will provide access to the River Park for those with disabilities.

The Recreation Department along with John Weeks, city engineer, began mapping out the trail last fall.

Wilson has said that in order for the trail to be considered ADA accessible, it must have no more than a 5 percent grade.

“Now they’re in the process of moving dirt around to meet these requirements,” Wilson said.

Workers also had to ensure that heavy equipment has access over the trail without damaging it.

Wilson said they are now handling the project and seeing that it runs smoothly.

A parking lot was built last year for the Petal River Park thanks to $8,000 donated by Leaf River Cellulose, which was placed in the Petal Public Improvement fund until the park was at a point to add the lot.

The city agreed to use city equipment and workers to build it, given the materials, such as gravel and other supplies, were purchased with the grant money.