By next summer, Martin Slough Trail could stretch like a big ribbon linking the towns of Minden and Gardnerville, with Seeman Pond Park serving as the bow.
Work on the pond started last week in an effort to take advantage of the low water table on the property.
That will be a factor for construction of about 2 miles of 10-foot-wide slough trail.
Douglas County Engineer Jeremy Hutchens said he hopes to begin construction next month with a possible opening in June.
“There are a couple of crossings of Martin Slough that we’d like to get done before irrigations season starts,” he said last week.
Douglas County commissioners approved a $1.8 million contract with Herback General Engineering.
The trail has been in the works for more than a decade, with the towns and the Seeman Foundation donating $25,000 and the developer of the project along Buckeye providing $50,000.
A Question 1 grant of $707,996 provides some of the funding for the project, but the county is looking at around $1.3 million.
That’s about $660,000 more than was in the budget for the project, whose estimates date back a decade, Hutchens said.
He pointed out that the high bid for the trail was $3.3 million.
Because the trail is partially funded by grant money the cost has changed, but the parameters are still where they were when the grant was awarded.
That includes paving the trail, which is designed to accommodate multiple forms of transportation, including pedestrians and bicycles.
Construction of the trail was one of the top three priorities in the county’s capital improvement plan, county chief financial officer and trail runner Terri Willoughby said.
Earth work on the Seeman Pond project is in progress after Minden approved that project in November.
Like the Martin Slough Trail, bids for the Seeman Pond came in higher than the estimates and required some reduction to get it at a more palatable $1 million.
The new park will feature a bridge over the inlet from the Heybourne Ditch, a floating fishing dock, and a larger parking lot at the Buckeye Trailhead.
Martin Slough Trail will connect the Buckeye Trailhead to the Gilman Avenue ponds, built in 1998 near the entrance to Chichester Estates in Gardnerville.
Martin Slough is part of the Carson Valley’s irrigation system that predates the founding of the towns.
The slough transports water from the East Fork of the Carson River starting along the east edge of the Gardnerville Ranchos and returning to the river west of Minden.