Medford council approves swap for Larson Creek Trail

Aland swap approved by the Medford City Council on Thursday paves the way to construct the first leg of the Larson Creek Trail.

Amaranth Properties agreed to give the city 1,202 square feet of its property east of Homewood Suites in exchange for 1,239 square feet of property owned by the city.

The property swap will allow the city to build a bike path that will traverse along Larson Creek from the existing Bear Creek Greenway at Highland Avenue to Ellendale Avenue.

The city has qualified for a $500,000 federal grant for the first phase of the path.

The proposed Larson Creek Greenway eventually will run parallel with Barnett Road to the east, extending for two miles to North Phoenix Road, then into other trails that would be part of the southeast plan.

The new path, which would traverse along the south bank of Larson Creek, would provide an alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians wanting to avoid busy Barnett Road by traveling through a mostly residential area.

The city has been working on obtaining right-of-way from three parcels to complete the first phase.

The City Council on May 1 accepted a donation from the Rogue Valley Manor of about 11/2 acres of undeveloped property where the first leg of Larson Creek Trail will split from the Bear Creek Greenway.

The council approved the design of the Larson Creek Greenway on May 17, 2012.

Amaranth owns a 31/4-acre parcel that will be the site of a proposed 120-room Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, scheduled for construction this fall.

The hotel, which has been planned for years, will be built to the west of Homewood Suites, a 109-room Hilton hotel, and just to the west of Ellendale Drive.

The new Larson Creek Trail has been criticized by some area residents, particularly the route between Ellendale Drive and North Phoenix Road.

Though the entire project hasn't been approved, the city is seeking additional funding to extend the trail past Ellendale Drive.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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