gmhTODAY 20 gmhToday June July 2018 - Page 97

Hecker Pass Scenic Highway Syngenta End of Path June End of Path August 2018 Santa Teresa & Third Gilroy Gardens HPSP stands for Hecker Pass Specifi c Plan Walk- way. Not a very exciting name for a beautiful extension of the levee we Gilroy residents have come to know and enjoy since it opened in 1989. The HPSP walkway starts at Santa Teresa Boulevard and goes west along Uvas Creek in a gentle arch back to Hecker Pass. Walking west from under Santa Teresa you will notice that the fence changes color from a dark red-brown to a lighter gray. The light fence is the new HPSP Walkway. J.Chris and I, along with our furry companion, Charlie, discovered the walkway one Sunday afternoon. We were delighted with the walkway, the landscaping, the scenery and the civilized exposure to our local flora and fauna. There are a variety of learning stations along the way with numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing. Currently the walk- way extends to Hecker Pass Highway from Santa Teresa. When completed it will be a 3.2-mile loop back to the intersection of Santa Teresa and Hecker Pass. The path along Hecker Pass will GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN be south along the magnificent Deodar Cedars that line the roadway. Part of the existing path extends along the creek, part skirts along Third Street and Grassland Lane. About a half-mile in, there is a small neighborhood park and fenced dog park. Last time I was out there it was still fenced off to the public as Meritage Homes completes some last-minute adjustments before they turn the park over to the City of Gilroy. We also learned that a lot of people use the walkway already. It is well traveled by walkers, runners, cyclists and families. We have run into friends and acquaintances each time we have been out there. The walkway is being completed by Maritage Homes, which is building several residential communities in the Hecker Pass Specific Plan area. Current plans have Meritage Homes building over 400 homes along the south side of Hecker Pass. The Hecker Pass Specific Plan also calls for some commercial uses in part of the development. Recently plans were submitted for a winery and tasting room, some live-work condos and some agricultural commercial space. At Santa Teresa the new walkway connects with the Dennis Debell Uvas Creek Preserve, which is officially 1.7 miles of trail from Luchessa Avenue to Santa Teresa Boulevard at Third Street. At Luchessa the trail also wanders south back to the Gilroy Sports Park. When completed, the trail will extend from the Sports Park, past Christmas Hill Park, on to the Meritage Homes and Syngenta then along Hecker Pass back to Santa Teresa—a hefty 5.7 miles. We look forward to a grand opening, tentatively scheduled for July, 2018, and a new name for this beautiful tribute to a healthier and more active Gilroy. JUNE/JULY 2018 97