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Flagler Will Build $7.5 Million Bike and Foot Trail East of Old Kings Rd., and Bridge Over SR 100

| July 3, 2018

trail old kings road

The planned 1.6-mile trail will connect Graham Swamp, above–which has its own trail–to a future trail south of State Road 100, with a foot and cyclist bridge above State Road 100. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler County government is planning a 1.6-mile, 12-foot-wide walking and biking trail through the forested greenery east of Old Kings Road, with a bridge for walkers and bikers only that will cross State Road 100, connecting the path to the future Bulow Trail south of 100.

The trail will connect Graham Swamp and Palm Coast’s very popular, existing Lehigh Trail, expanding on the city’s and the county’s much-used path system. The bridge over State Road 100 will also serve to improve safety for pedestrians on the high-traffic, four-lane highway.

But the project, unveiled for the first time Monday during a county commission meeting, drew questions from commissioners after the item was pulled from the consent portion of their agenda–the portion of the agenda that commissioners usually approve wholesale without discussion, unless items are pulled for debate. This particular item was pulled by a resident and by three commissioners. 

The commission eventually approved the $1.5 million design portion of the project on a 4-1 vote. The dissenter was Charlie Ericksen, ironically the most avid biker among the commissioners.

The full cost of the trail will be over $7.5 million. But it is to be financed by state and federal dollars–still tax dollars to be sure, but drawn from the state Department of Transportation and from federal coffers, without the need for a match or a contribution from local property taxes or other funding sources. But while most of the money has been secured, the full funding has not necessarily been secured.

“Right now we do have approximately $6 million allocated for construction fees, also federal funds from FDOT,” Faith al-Khatib, the county engineer, said. “Either we request more funding if it came above budget or we can decide to do this project in phases.”

old kings road trail

The trail’s outline as presented in background material to commissioners Monday. See the full package of materials below the article. Click on the image for larger view.

All the property through which the trail flows is owned by government agencies, so there will be no need for right-of-way acquisitions. Trails and bridges in the recent past have been paid for through state and federal grants, County Administrator Craig Coffey said. “These designs, you want to keep designing these and have them on the shelf so they’re shovel-ready, ready to go permitted-wise, it takes some time when you have wetlands and multi-jurisdictions and all kinds of safety rules involved,” Coffey said. “Faith has done a very good job her and her team to get us positioned to take advantage of opportunities as they come along.”

Commissioners worried about financial exposure for the county. “After we get through the $1.5 million design phase, are we saying we will not go forward with this unless we have it fully funded from DOT?” Commissioner Dave Sullivan asked. But $6 million is appropriated already. What’s not certain is that the construction cost may not necessarily remain at $6 million.

“If it came to be $7 million, we have two options. Option number one, to go back to FDOT, request the additional funding,” al-Khatib said. The other option is local funding through gas tax revenue, or to divide the project in phases over different fiscal years in accordance with available funding.

Earlier this year the county had three projects that went over-budget. Some got the extra funding through the state, some through the local-option gas tax revenue. “It’s not a threat to ad valorem,” Coffey said, seeking to assure commissioners that money would not be siphoned out of general revenue, which is fed by property tax revenue. “We have been doing this for well over a decade now and we’ve been very successful. Sometimes you do have to add some money. So to say we wouldn’t move forward without adding any money, that probably would not be a fair statement. If we have a downturn, it could actually come in well under $6 million. If things keep going crazy, it could be a $7 million project as Ms. al-Khatib has said. You never know, because you’re in a multi-year planning process, what the construction cost will be until you bid it.”

charlie ericksen

Flagler County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast’s much-vaunted big-ticket construction projects are an example: when the city administration first pitched its plan to renovate and largely rebuild the Palm Coast Community Center on Palm Coast Parkway, Palm Coast Manager Jim Landon in 2013 put the price at  $3 to $4 million.” But as uncomfortable as city council members were with the vagueness, Landon was also as non-committal as Coffey. By the time the community center re-opened last March, it had close close to $8 million.

Landon and Coffey had used the same words to project costs: “But we really do not know,” Landon had in 2013. “You never know because you’re in a multi-year planning process what the construction cost will be until you bid it,” Coffey said Monday.

“We want to make sure the public understands this is not coming out of their taxes,” Sullivan said. (At least not property taxes.)

“These are bringing tax dollars home in a way, that are at the state, I guarantee if we don’t use this, someone else will be more than happy to,” Coffey said.

“Just because we’ve got the apple dangling in front of [us] you don’t have to take a bite out of it,” Commissioner Charlie Ericksen, a biker, said, questioning the swampy conditions of the land through which the trail would go, the hogs that he says are infesting the area, and the uncertainty surrounding the sort of bridge that would be built over State Road 100. “There was no picture about the design of the bridge,” he protested, referring to the back-up material provided to commissioners ahead of the meeting. 

The county will be holding public hearings about the project, which has been in the county’s strategic plan for several years, as it progresses. “It’s just now coming up to where we can actually fund it and do it,” Coffey said. “Hopefully we’ll make you feel more comfortable when we get the details of the design, when they do the geotech and when they do the surveying and all that stuff right now. But you’ve kind of got to go from the old crystal ball, I always tell you guys, you’ve got to go from very cloudy to getting it clearer and clearer.”

The Trail: Background Materials

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52 Responses for “Flagler Will Build $7.5 Million Bike and Foot Trail East of Old Kings Rd., and Bridge Over SR 100”

  1. Really says:

    Why dont you all fund a paving the roads project. Wr have enough bike trails

  2. Richard says:

    Good! Keep the bicycles off the roads where they will be much safer as the driver’s around the Palm Coast Flagler Beach areas have no brains & common sense when it comes to rules, laws and how to drive a vehicle properly.

  3. Born and Raised Here says:

    This is great news for us avid bicyclist. I don’t think the golf courses will lbe around much longer. They can’t seem to attract a younger crowd.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Flagler is wasting money on this and complaining they are gonna raise taxes to pay for more needed things. Even if it’s a grant it’s still tax payer money.Why don’t we have wild flowers in the mediums and not 2k palm trees. The people from up north came down here and screwed Florida up. Cut taxes take care of the cops, firemen and teachers, good water which Palm Coast does’t have. The roads. More Deputies for the crappy inter cities kids and trash from up north that are raising are crime.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ride on the sidewalk

  6. Paul says:

    Every time the county announces a new project they state it is not coming from our local taxes. Why does the county distort the funding as it relates to our tax dollars.

    WE all pay federal taxes and the State funds also come from our tax dollars. All government projects are derived from tax dollars and we ultimately pay…….. Just tell the truth and if the project has merit then the community ( taxpayers) should support the plan.

    This is very similar to our Flagler Student Training School Airport spending over 17 million taxpayer dollars to extend the runway 500′ closer to our homes.

  7. Russ Smith says:

    Waste of $. Palm Coast has enough “Bike Trails” How about infrastructure? Our roads need paving, canals need work including cleaning and dredge, just horribly ugly. Step it up Palm Coast take care of the real stuff! Bike Trails? Really?

  8. Robert says:

    Why don’t we use the money to enhance the safety of neighborhood with street lighting. Not everyone is a biker or hiker but do reside in poorly lit neighborhoods

  9. Harold says:

    Really?? 1.6 miles for Over $7.5 million… Those trails must be paved in 14k gold. Amazing!!!

  10. Charlie Ericksen, Jr says:

    All paving of roads , is paid for by the gas tax revenues obtained from the State. So, there is no expense to the residents ..

    Here is a subject, that should be on the regular agenda, for discussion not the consent agenda, for quick passage.. My concern is the wetlands, the safety of walkers and riders , and what is so adventurous on the South side of SR100.?

  11. Charlie Ericksen, Jr says:

    Oh, and the pigs have been there longer than Palm Coast and Flagler County have been. The area used to be an official hunting area for the pigs, who get as far East as Colbert and dig up the grounds for grubs

  12. Bike rider says:

    Why don’t they just use the “old part” of old kings road north section its already cleared and paved from where the road was before? Around the mason cementary is still there, no clearing and leveling needed.

  13. John Brady says:

    These guys can’t be serious. What is wrong with these supposed spend your money Republicans, There is a high likely hood that the sheriff’s operation center will need to be replaced and the county manager put a 7.5 million dollar item on the consent agenda.

    Fix what is broken first. Maintenance not monuments

  14. ConstantlyAmazed says:

    The other day it was reported that the county was “BROKE” and the possibility of tax increases, layoffs & diminished services were possibly in Flaglers future. I understand this “sweetheart” project is combining fron state & federal funds but we as the citizens will ultimately have to foot the bill.

    Do we really need this right now? With all the other problems this county is facing like the Sheriffs office health fiasco and questionable real estate dealing concerning the building, major flooding issues after storms, unemployment when SeaRay closed its factory, high crime

    Flagler County, it had TREMENDOUS POSSIBILITIES for growth and economic prosperity however it’s more important to build bike paths instead of futures.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, the roads are falling apart, but they’re going to spend 7.5m on ANOTHER trail. I’m going to call this what it is, illegal. Somebody is getting cutbacks from these stupid projects.

  16. Agkistrodon says:

    In other news, roads in residential areas are crumbling, and there are still no street lights……..

  17. mark101 says:

    One would hope for a project to get the bikes off of A1A in the hammock, I guess when a biker is killed things will change. What is needed is a large bike lane pulled away from A1A. The tiny existing lane, well is tiny and but a biker in danger and a motorist at risk.

  18. Mike Norris says:

    How about we fix the drainage problems in our county before another bike trail. The leaders in this community have no idea how to improve the quality of life for the citizens. I don’t know how we are going to find people to fill All Those jobs created by the bike trails…….said no one ever! Dummies!

  19. Rolcha says:

    So excited! I love the bike and walking trails in beautiful Flagler County. I am out there using them everyday. So many of us enjoy these trails. Can’t wait :)

  20. Anonymous says:

    7.5 million dollars? The people on bikes on the road are choosing to ride on the road now. There is so many huge wide bike paths and yet still have to worry about hitting some on a bike because they refuse to use the bike path. Think they would be smarter about riding. Us 1 sounds smart right?

  21. Just the facts says:

    Wait, I like the trails but didn’t the commission just agree to a tax increase? If we replace Sherman’s high salary and we forgo the trail, do we still need a tax increase?

  22. John Kent says:

    Yeah, right! Lets bury $7 million into the forest/ground for 4-5 bikers to go there in a week! Lol. Our county commissioners have no brain, that much is evident. And all because if you don’t get that money from State/FDOT someone else will. The discussion of imbeciles & infantiles.

  23. PC for Me says:

    We have enough Bike Paths? Really is that what you think? We have so much natural Beauty here and we don’t take advantage of it. When was last time you walked Grahm Swamp from Old kings to Colbert? It is fantastic! I have lived in cities with excellent bike path infrastructure, It is so nice to be able go from here to there on a bike or rollerblades and not feel like you or your kid is going to die any second from some Ass clown in a pickup truck flooring it 6 inches from you. Would you ride your bike on Palm coast parkway? I see people doing it but I wouldn’t. This is the best Palm Coast news I have heard in a long time. You may not know this, but we and Ormond have one of the last stand of old growth deciduous hardwood trees left in Florida. Nothing wrong with Mr. Coffey spending money on Infrastructure. 100 years after I am dead, people will be enjoying that trail…

  24. Anonymous says:

    To Richard: Isn’t it great, bicyclists & joggers communing with nature by driving their bicycles and jogging/walking through the swamps of Flagler County while staying “Safely” out of the way of automobiles and off the highways of Flagler county. Not to be considered harmful, the Alligators, various snakes, cotton mouths, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, Nile virus mosquitos, Zika Virus Mosquitos, Gnats{“no see ums”} not to mention the Bears, Panthers, Lynx/bob cat’, rabid raccoons, human vermin that prey on other humans, and now packs of wild coyote’s that have aggressively circled hunters in the woods until they get shot at. Yes Richard, the joggers, bicyclists, walkers, will all be safe and not a nuisance to motorist from now on. Now all we have to do is buy a couple million dollars of specialized emergency equipment to rescue these folks off these inaccessible {by conventional Emergency vehicles} narrow paths after communing with the swamp life. I believe we had better consider not closing the bike lanes on our Flagler county roads just yet.

  25. John Kent says:

    And the projected cost is $118 per sq.foot! Like a quality house. Then comes an upkeep in the years to come & your taxes go up because State isn’t going to pay for it. And you should be very careful going into those woods alone, hogs & crime & all. Great idea!

  26. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ Richard

    Drivers aren’t the only ones careless on the roads. I drive daily for my job and will tell you that cyclists and pedestrians are some of the worst at violating the rules of the road. There is no enforcement either so they get away with it. Yet as soon as they are hit it will automatically be the drivers fault.

    @ Our Commissioners

    You have areas that are desperate for sidewalks and lighting. This is also a safety issue and should be addressed first. Stop taking kick backs from projects and take care of your neighborhoods.

    People we have an election coming up. Start remembering these issues when you go cast a vote. Everyone demands change but change starts with the individual voter at the ballot box.

  27. capt says:

    Coffey continues to ignore the real issues in Flagler County . Fix the roads and the water drainage issues.

    After every hard rain, I see pump trucks along Palm Coast Parkway pumping out culverts and county roads continue to flood after heavy rains. But NO lets just spend $7 million plus on a bike trail.

  28. joseph Pulitzer says:

    Build it and they will come! Bravo this is great news.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Residents pay the gas tax so how is this not an expense to anyone purchasing gas? C’mon man!

  30. NPA says:

    We need more street lights and safe school bus stops for the students. What about that? Is the county not talking any more about this two issues?

  31. Anonymous says:

    If these costly bike trails kept the bicycles within the trails that would be great. .

  32. Termite says:

    Another path? Sidewalks Palm Coast. This town needs sidewalks. I’m tired of having to dodge people walking on the road because of no sidewalks. Poor lighting at night makes this dangerous for the walker and for the driver. I understand within the subdivisions there may be reluctance but on the main streets like Wellington, BellAire, Bird of Paradise and so on, sidewalks are needed. They are also needed more throughout the “shopping” districts of town. Paths for walking are great except you have to dive to walk on one and many people in this town don’t have cars. Imagine if they could safely walk to the grocery store or a place of employment. It may make the unemployment in Palm Coast even less. This city does not think of its citizens as a whole only a select demographic.

  33. Amom says:

    Maybe we should all be bubble wrapped. I think that the walking and biking trails are the most beautiful parts of Flagler!

  34. Born and Raised Here says:

    If you build it, they will cone. We need to attract business and healthy outdoors enthusiast people. Flagler County has to provide this for our County to grow.

  35. HonkeyDude says:

    Have the commissioner who approved this walk it first. Then send it back for a revote. Learn your county before you decide things.
    So is this new trail going to be a issue with the indian burial grounds?

  36. Paul says:

    Why would the Commissioners approve 1.5 million dollar design project for a projected 7 million plus dollar cost that is certainly a questionable use of our tax dollars ?

    The Compression and Coffey need to put forth plans that actually increase our tax base. One can assume that less than 5% of our existing demographics would utilize this additional pathway system through the swamp…..

    This is just like spending 17 million on new runway for the Flagler student training airport that has attracted no new corporate jets, just an additional flight school to harass our neighborhood.

    Design engineers must love these projects…… Probably from out the county and state. Similar to the paying a web hosting site in California for non-existent tourist industry in Flagler.

  37. I like trails says:

    I think this is a good idea, and I’m excited. I agree with Charlie that this is not a good place for a trail, being a wetland and all, but lets face it pumps can drain water, and as long as trucks have drivers and wheels fill dirt can be mail ordered. Wetlands can be made into dry lands, fit for house or business foundations (which in my opinion is pretty crappy). I’d rather have a bike path than another gigantic shopping center or some huge store.

  38. HonkeyDude says:

    Has anyone thought to make this a kayak trail instead? It would probably save 7 million.

  39. Linda Johnsen says:

    The comment section filled up quickly. I truly am still waiting for the Streetlights, and all safety issues surrounding people and children being killed while walking, or crossing a street. A Normal place has lights on every street that do not have to be paid for by the renter or homeowner. How about a true bus system for folks who cannot take the heat to get to work, or the Dr. or just because they choose to ride a bus.I am not talking about the little mini bus you need an appointment to use. The side streets are a wreck, like the R section, Raemond Lane, Raeland, Raemoor, etc.. No lights at all unless one person pays to have a light at an absurd price. Priorities People!!

  40. JustTheTruth says:

    Do County and City officials read these post? It doesn’t seem they do anything that the taxpayers ask for, and just spend the taxpayers money on what that seem to pick, not what taxpayers ask for? Please everyone vote in November, time for new officials.

  41. capt says:

    @ Just in Time; the [problem is not the commissioners, its the lack of control over the county administrator by the commissioners as a whole. Coffey has had free rain and has for a long time, his pet projects are not meeting the bulk of Flagler Counties citizens needs. nThe problem is out of control spending by Coffey and failing to honor his commitments on other projects. .

  42. Bob says:

    Skip the footbridge until pedestrian traffic warrants it. Put in traffic control lights with pedestrian signals.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t 1.8 million the shortfall amount in the budget? Just chop this project out and there you go, nearly balanced budget. After not having to spend the 1.2 million dollar engineering fees that must be spent first to get the project started and to get the federal funding, we would only be 600 thousand short of what Coffey said he needed, or there about. Why do we jump on every little state & federal grant when we can’t afford the up keep on most of these projects once completed. A prime local example is the city of Bunnell’s public Hwy landscaping beautification project within the city limits that was, “I believe”, federally funded. It looked great at first, but now looks terrible because the city has not maintained the landscaping at all that I have seen. So why buy into any of these federal/state grants when the local governments can’t afford the maintenance costs after they are built and the taxpayers are strained to pay for as in Palm Coast. I personally don’t want my federal dollars wasted to beautify cities, or build bike paths through swamps to start with, which I then I have to pay from now on to maintain. Sorry, but it just does not make any sense to me when there are so many human needs in this country that need funding, you know like health care, children’s nutrition, elderly care, more and better hospitals, re establishment of state and federal hospitals for the mentally ill that closed their doors and pushed these poor people out on the streets as the perennial homeless several decades ago. I can see my tax dollars being put too much better use than to be given in a grant for these B.S. projects that are never paid because of maintenance costs.

  44. August says:

    TOO much $$$- We here in Flagler would really like, simply,,, a grocery store. But I heard a deal was signed w/ Publix, so that no food stores would be built in the Flagler area, that would be compitition for Publix. We USED to Have a grocery store, where the Dollar store now is- This town is just turning into a retirement center. ALSO- Many~ are killed along A1A in the Hammock, so Im not sure this plan is… all there, at all.

  45. markingthedays says:

    Projects like this and our tree-lined boulevards are what makes this town gorgeous. Holly Hill hs plenty of streetlights and sidewalks, but it looks like a war zone. Choose your locale.

  46. Randy Jones says:

    S – O – S
    Secure Our Schools

  47. Anonymous says:

    Russ Smith says:
    July 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm
    Waste of $. Palm Coast has enough “Bike Trails” How about infrastructure? Our roads need paving, canals need work including cleaning and dredge, just horribly ugly. Step it up Palm Coast take care of the real stuff! Bike Trails? Really?


    Russ this is NOT a Palm Coast project!!! Its being done by through the COUNTY.

  48. Anonymous says:

    HOW are people so DUMB??? All this complaining about Moneys being spent on improvements in our County and all you see on here is Palm Coast this or that.. First if one was to READ this they should get that is moneys NOT out of County Tax dollars some maybe yes but the vast majority or whole is NOT County tax dollars. Next this money will be spent by some municipality so why NOT this one??? Also all the we need street lights IMO is BS. I like to be able to see the stars at night. Also if driving at night there is this amazing thing in your vehicle that can TURN ON LIGHTS to see the road ahead of you.

  49. P. says:

    Great news except I would feel better if the safety of this town’s residents would have come first. There are so many dark roads without sidewalks in this town!!! You have to always drive to get to the bike path and it takes the whole fun away because not all have vehicle for that or can carry a bicycle in and out of a vehicle. I think that’s why the bike paths are so empty here. They are not connected safely to the neighborhoods.

  50. Anonymous says:

    You can’t fix stupid, but you sure as hell can fire him!

  51. Flabbergasted says:

    Flagler County Summary of Outstanding Debt….. (Chapter 6-4 approved 2017-2018 Budget)

    Governmental Funds = $117,227,884.

    Proprietary Funds= $19,499,779.

    ( Airport debt $6,585,786………………………)

    This is what happens under the Coffey Adm……

  52. GT says:

    Close to a $900 a foot are you using oriental carpet for the pathway?

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