SAN JUAN, Texas – Hidalgo County Commissioner Eddie Cantu would like to see more hike and bike trails established in his precinct, with a spur reaching out from his central hub into the cities of Hidalgo and Mission.
Cantu pulled off one of the major recreation improvement achievements of 2021 in Hidalgo County by building the five-mile Precinct 2 Inclusive Hike and Bike Trail. The trail is distinctive because it includes tunnels that allow those using the trail to avoid crossing busy roads.
“The City of Hidalgo has a two mile hike and bike trail. We are hoping to connect from Hidalgo at some point and take it north to McAllen. Kind of hit close to Quinta Mazatlan and perhaps even go west to Mission. It is on our wish list. We are slowly working on that,” Cantu told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Cantu could begin discussions soon with the Hidalgo city leaders and Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3, which are planning on a hike and bike trail alongside 23rd Street.
Building a hike and bike trail in Precinct 2 was a top priority for Cantu. It has been for a long time.
“I began working on this project and sought alternative ways of funding the Precinct 2 Inclusive Hike and Bike Trail before I was even elected in 2015. This first-of-its-kind hike and bike trail provides underground tunnel connections to cities in Hidalgo County so that residents can use the entire trail without having to cross a major road intersection,” Cantu said, proudly.
“The trail connects the City of San Juan to the City of Pharr and the City of Pharr to the City of McAllen’s existing trail.”
In late October, 2021, over 300 Hidalgo County residents joined Cantu for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hike and bike trail.
“The Precinct 2 Inclusive Hike and Bike Trail is important to me because it gives all individuals, regardless of their age or ability, the opportunity to exercise safely, at their pace, alone or with family, and with a pet or without,” Cantu said.
In his interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Cantu boasted the new feature in Precinct 2 was the “safest, nicest, hike and bike trail south of San Antonio.”
“It is well lit so you can walk around it in the morning and at night. It has four tunnels so you go under the roads instead of stopping at busy intersections. And people are already using it. We have parking lots throughout the whole trail. It has been a very successful project.”
The project cost $11 million but $6 million came from the state and federal governments. “So, we brought in a lot of money from out of the area. We built a very successful project,” Cantu said.
“Those wishing to use the trail might wish to start at San Antonio and Bears Trail in San Juan, close to the old high school where the domes are at. Or you could start or finish at the Precinct 2 offices.”
Cantu added: “Walking, running, bike riding, this is what it is all about. This trail is for the people. There are parking places throughout the trail. It helps you rest your mind, ease your stress, get a little exercise in. You can walk, ride, run, bring your pets out, it is pet-friendly. We have water fountains for adults, children and pets. Come on out, there is no excuse.”
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