SLO County parks department finds (almost) enough money to extend Bob Jones Trail

Bicyclists ride along part of the Bob Jones Trail in Avila Beach.
Bicyclists ride along part of the Bob Jones Trail in Avila Beach. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department has found nearly all of the last bit of money needed to take the Bob Jones Trail to the next stage, but it will be up to the county Board of Supervisors to approve the expenditure.

Supervisors will likely be asked May 9 to approve allocating money needed for the construction document and right-of-way consulting services to extend the well-used trail to Avila by about 4.4 miles. If approved, the county would then be able to advertise a request for proposals.

The project that has been years in the making would connect the current trailhead on Ontario Road to the Octagon Barn on South Higuera Street.

The estimated cost of the next planning phase is $1.15 million. The county has $775,000 in grants available, leaving a shortfall of $380,000.

Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco told supervisors in an email that his staff identified about $317,000 that could help close that gap. He said the money could come from sources committed to the Avila to Harford Pier pathway project, which has stalled.

Supervisor Adam Hill, who forwarded Franco’s email to the The Tribune, said he expects the request to receive the four votes needed for approval.

“This means a lot to our community,” Hill said. “People love the Bob Jones Trail — people who live here and visit here. Let’s get it moving again.”

Monica Vaughan: 805-781-7930, @MonicaLVaughan