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FHSU class keeps dream moving





ELLIS -- Dennis Schoenthaler hoped someday to see a walking trail in Ellis that would provide community connections for the town's residents.

Although Schoenthaler lost his battle with cancer in May, his walking trail dream has been kept alive through the efforts of the Community Foundation of Ellis and a Fort Hays State University leadership studies class.

A memorial fund set up in Schoenthaler's name raised approximately $5,000. However, the cost of surfacing the half-mile trail at Creekside Park, located at Sixth and Taylor, is estimated at $20,000.

When approached by members of the foundation for assistance with the project, the Leadership 310 team, including seniors Jarrod Temple, Brenda Lenker and Dean Koehn, junior Will Habiger and sophomore Derrick Edwards, decided they would move forward to stake and surface the trail.

Putting leadership theories into action has been a learning experience for team members Temple and Lenker.

"This final part, actually going out and doing an activity ... it's a pretty valuable experience," Temple said.

Although funds for the entire project have not yet been raised, the team has staked the trail and will surface as much of the trail as funds allow.

Team members said they intend to apply for grants to continue the project, but since the class will end at the conclusion of the fall semester, future progress might be the task of another team.

Lenker said later plans for the trail include park benches, flowers, lighting and landscaping.

Groundbreaking for the trail will be at 10 a.m. Saturday.

A fun run/walk has been scheduled Sunday at Creekside Park, with proceeds designated to the walking trail. Registration is $5 and begins at noon. The walk/run follows at 1 p.m.

To sign up for the 5K walk/run, call Dena with the Community Foundation of Ellis at (785) 726-2660.

"We're hoping to get a lot of people for the walk/run," Temple said. "We would like to get quite a bit of the trail surfaced."