City council gives preliminary OK to Lake Chautauqua Trail

A $200,000 state grant will help pay for a 7,700-linear foot-path and equestrian parking area at a north Clearwater park.
CLEARWATER  — An Oldsmar excavation company has received the go ahead to construct a crushed-shell trail at Lake Chautauqua Equestrian and Nature Preserve in north Clearwater.
The city council’s preliminary approval Monday was the end result of an agreement reached earlier this year between the city and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for a $200,000 Recreational Trails Program grant. The remaining balance of the project — $50,000 — will come from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax fund for infrastructure.
The project also includes adding amenities like benches and water fountains, as well as parking for horse trailers at the 60-acre park, according to Clearwater Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar.
He said the addition of the equestrian elements was an integral part of plans for the park, located at the end of Landmark Drive about two miles southeast of Westfield Countryside mall.
 “The trails will be multi-use, and they will be specially designed to allow horses to use them,” Dunbar explained.
“Equestrian activities were very prominent in that part of the city in the past, and we wanted to address that history with this project.”
The new trails will connect with the 1.2 miles of trails that currently exist in the park, adding a mile and a half of pathways suitable for hiking, walking, biking and horseback riding, he said.
Dunbar said the project will further enhance one of the city’s great scenic treasures.
“It really is like a pristine slice of Old Florida back in there,” he said. “It’s one of the few really neat places like that left in Clearwater.”
Keystone Excavators could begin work as soon as the end of this month, pending final approval from the city council on Thursday. It’s expected to take less than 90 days to complete the project.
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