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Bike, walking trail in Wichita celebrates city’s African American history

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:24 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A local bike and walking trail in Wichita highlights art and African American history along the way.

Former City Council member LaVonta Williams said the Red Bud Trail is one of a kind.

“Small buses come from our rural communities want to come and see the path,” Williams said.

That wasn’t always the case.

“It was completely dirt.”

That dirt was leftover from the old BNSF railroad line that used to run through the northeast part of town.

To spruce up the area, city leaders came up with a plan to turn the former tracks into a trail that showcases art and Black history along the way.

“These three pause points become something that people from out of town come to see. I would like for it to have its own brochure.”

The $2.5 million project was unveiled in 2016 and initially stretched from Murdock and I-135 to 17th and Oliver, but later expanded further east.

“It’s about two and half miles of what we have here, but this trail also goes all the way to Augusta, to Andover.”

Wichita’s Black history is showcased along the trail at 17th & Oliver, 8th and Hillside, and 13th and Roosevelt.

“You have a lot of firsts here. You have a lot of people who were the first this, the first that,” Williams said.

Like Carl Brewer, the first African American elected mayor of Wichita, and Williams as the first African American woman to serve as vice mayor, the Dockum sit-in protestors, and so much more.

Williams said more local trailblazers will be added to the art displays in the future.

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