First two sections of the Prairie Corridor open at Pioneers Park

LINCOLN, Neb. The Prairie Corridor is a project six years in the making but has really started taking shape in the last 18 months. The first two sections of the project start at Pioneers Park and Tuesday people got to check it out.

When it’s completed the project will cost an estimated $22 million dollars, officials announced they've reached about one third of that goal. Raising $7 million dollars and opening the first completed sections.

Today, people tested out the first two of ten miles of the Prairie Corridor, a project that had Mayor Chris Beutler emotional.

"This is the best project of them all,” said Beutler. “Because this is gonna be here when everything else that we've done is no longer here."

When it’s completed the Prairie Corridor will be about a 20-mile round trip ride, stretching from Pioneers Park in Lincoln to the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon center in Denton.

“Over the last 18 months or so we've built more community around this project,” said Michael Forsberg, who is chair of the Prairie Corridor Committee. “We've tried to boost it's public profile. We've brought in more land, so it's really just elevating the voice of what this is."

The project is also part of an ongoing conservation effort, the $7 million dollars has also allowed the Lincoln Parks Foundation to add an additional 950 acres of protected prairie.

Tuesday, those young and old tested out the beginning of trail with free pedicab rides or with bikes of their own.

"Lincoln is committed to provide everybody with a healthy life,” said Pepe Herrero of Lincoln, NE. ”When I mean healthy life it means getting people outdoors, being healthy being with their children"

There is no concrete timeline for this project. Those in charge say the rate at which they continue to raise the $22 million dollars and landowner participation will determine when the project will be complete.

"It propels us onward, you know everything takes money but more than that it takes community, so if you have both of those together skies the limit," said Forsberg.

Mayor Beutler will end his 12 years in office on Monday but today it was announced that he will continue to work on the project, as a new co-chair.