A. Lee Graham firstname.lastname@example.org
The Trinity Trails provide more than a brisk stroll; they can mean big bucks. According to a recent poll, activities held along the Fort Worth trails system raised more than $25 million between 2003 and 2013. “The number itself was definitely more than I imagined,” said Matt Oliver, a spokesman with the Trinity River Vision Authority, a division of the Tarrant Regional Water District that oversees the Trinity Uptown flood control and recreational development project north of downtown. The agency itself conducted the poll, asking organizations that held athletic events, fundraisers and other activities along the 40-mile trails system how much net income those gatherings generated. Oliver declined to reveal specific amounts generated by each organization, providing only the approximate combined total. Since their inception, the trails have drawn runners, walkers and cyclists. Leisurely walkers and faster runners have found a trails system not far from their backyards and offices irresistible. So have those staging the Cowtown Marathon, Mayfest and other events that generate revenue through registration fees, on-site sales and charitable donations. Much of that revenue has been donated to organizations supporting causes such as juvenile diabetes prevention, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, cancer research initiatives and various college scholarships, among others. Many events held along the trails were decided by residents as the city developed the Trinity River Vision Neighborhood Recreational Enhancement Plan. In 10 public meetings, residents suggested 83 projects they wanted to see along the river. “It’s what the community asks for,” said Rachel Navejar, neighborhood and recreation enhancement coordinator with Trinity River Vision. A particularly popular event is Mayfest. According to a Texas A&M University study, the 2005 staging of the annual event made an $8.9 million economic impact on the city. That takes into account hotel and restaurant revenue by those visiting Fort Worth for the event, as well as event registration and other related income. Reasons for polling sponsor organizations were simple. “We wanted to understand the benefits of TRWD’s investment in the Trinity Trail system,” Navejar said. “As we support decision-making on future improvement projects by our board of directors, we want better information for these informed decisions.” Results were not collected to lobby funding for any specific project, Oliver said.