Monday, October 27, 2014

You Run on the Katy Trail and the Katy Trail Runs on You!

October is full of so many of our favorite things: falling leaves, trick-or-treaters, cooler weather, and of course, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! But for the staff at Friends of the Katy Trail October is always a month based on giving. Each October we challenge ourselves to raise $150,000 to end our fundraising season with a bang. It’s a lofty task, but each year we are humbled by the generosity of our community during this Annual Support Campaign.

The Katy Trail stretches through 3.5 miles of Dallas’ most densely populated areas. From American Airlines Center to SMU, the trail takes trail users through exceptional neighborhoods, trendy hotspots and connects to a multitude of parks. The trail itself covers 20 acres which, as you can imagine, comes with a lot of maintenance.

Friends of the Katy Trail funds everything you see and enjoy along the trail: organic landscaping, water fountains, benches, and the upkeep of the beautiful plazas along the trail that so many people use to relax and take in the beauty around them. We also take care of so many things that you don’t see or may take for granted like hiring safety patrol officers, graffiti removal and paying the electric and water bills.

Without support from the community the Katy Trail would go nowhere. Although the Katy Trail is a city park, it is privately funded. It is up to Friends of the Katy Trail to raise more than $700,000 each year to keep the trail in peak conditions for everyone to enjoy.  

If you are one of the 20,000 people who use the Katy Trail each week, you should give back. If you are one of the many businesses who conducts business near the trail or uses the Katy Trail in their marketing techniques, then you should definitely give back! While we have had a successful campaign so far, we still have 1/3 of our goal to raise and we are running out of time.

Don’t rely on others to give for you; gifts of any size are welcome during our Annual Support Campaign.

Gifts can also be made by phone or mail

Call 214-303-1180

Mail to 5207 McKinney Avenue, Suite 19A, Dallas 75205

Help us keep the Katy Trail a peak resource for the city of Dallas and make a tax-deductible donation today!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Celebrate North Texas Giving Day with us at the Katy Trail Ice House

September is a great month for the Katy Trail and not just because it promises for cooler temperatures.  September is packed full of member events and of course, North Texas Giving Day! Last year on North Texas Giving Day you blew our expectation way out of the water and helped us raise more than $34,000. We know we can do it again this year and we plan to celebrate big at the Katy Trail Ice House.

All donations made on North Texas Giving Day from 6am to midnight of $25 or more are partially matched so it’s the perfect opportunity to give – your dollars will go farther. In the past 5 years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $60 million into our community; needless to say, we are thrilled to be part of this incredible event.

Help us celebrate by joining us at the Katy Trail Ice House from 5-7pm on September 18th. The event is open to non-members, but we do ask that attendees consider making a donation of $25 or more. Food and drink will be graciously provided by the Ice House. Donations can be made online that day or we can take them in person that evening at the event.

Help us keep the Katy Trail in great shape – we need your support!

Volunteer Spotlight: Billy Hartwell

Billy Hartwell first joined the Friends of the Katy Trail in 2009. Since then he has become an active volunteer serving on our Membership and Marketing Committee. He has donated his time and talent to the trail for years designing clever campaigns and signage for the Katy Trail. If you’ve ever noticed those fun safety signs along the trail reminding you about things like “Ah-Chihuahua, it’s hot - Hydrate yourself and your 4-legged friends frequently”, then you have seen his work.

Billy runs or bikes on the trail 4 times a week and feels passionate about giving back. “As a marketing guy I support the Trail because it's a great product. I love it!” says Hartwell. When he’s not on the trail he stays busy as the Managing Director at Agency Hartwell. We are so grateful for his support!

Snyder's Union Ramp Almost Complete

Construction is underway at Snyder’s Union to connect the Katy Trail to the wonderful neighboring outdoor space, Lee Park. The ramp will make it easier for our everyone to get across Turtle Creek and up on the trail, especially those on bikes, blades or skateboards. Construction began shortly after the spring groundbreaking ceremony and is set to be complete in early October.

The ramp is being made possible by a private donation from the Snyder family who has been long time donors to the Katy Trail. They are also responsible for funding Snyder’s Union, the trail’s largest plaza, and the ramp to connect to Lee Park below has always been part of their vision. We are thrilled that this is now coming to fruition and are extremely grateful to the Snyder family for this generous gift that benefits the entire community.

To date the construction has had little impact on the Katy Trail, but in the upcoming weeks the trail will be partially closed in that area. Trail users will still be able to get through, but there could be some congestion so please use caution in that area. Safety signs and flag men will be in place on the trail during this time. Please have patience with us as we work to complete the project and with other trail users while sharing the path.

Playing it Safe

We to do what we can to keep the Katy Trail a peaceful resource for our community to enjoy, but we need your help to keep it clean and safe. Two things that have come to the forefront lately are unattended children and over attended cats.

We don’t have anything against kids or cats, but they both have their place on the trail. If you bring children out on the trail, please keep a watchful eye on them. Too many times we have seen joggers and bikers dodging kids who have crossed over to their path. And it’s not just kids using the trail, the problem also occurs near the trail at plazas or restaurants nearby. If you stop to rest or grab a bite to eat, please make sure that your child knows to stay out of oncoming traffic. You wouldn't let your child play in the street, so please don’t let them play on the trail.

As for the cats, we have been working with Dallas Animal Services, Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance and local veterinarians on implementing a TNR (Trap Neuter Return) program. To date, more than 45 stray cats have been caught, spayed or neutered and then released back to the trail. With help from the community the population will reduce and become less of a nuisance. We are asking our neighbors along the trail to not feed the cats unless they have talked to our office. Food should never be placed on the trail or within 10 feet of the trail, and it should never be left to sit for hours. Cat food on the trail creates a hazard for trail users and attracts more cats and other unwanted animals. If you see anyone not cooperating, please direct them to our office. We can’t control the population unless everyone complies. We are extremely grateful for the Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance and their volunteers who have been working hard to manage the problem and funding the expense.

Thank you all for your cooperation. New signs have been placed on the Katy Trail this week in trouble spots to remind everyone to be good stewards of the trail. 

The Curse of the Katy 5K Continues

Keeping up with tradition, we got rain not once, but twice this year at the annual Michelob Ultra Katy 5K. For the first time in the run’s 16 year history the race was canceled due to severe weather on the original date in May. Both the Katy Picnic and race course had been set up, but shortly before race time the area was struck with tornado speed winds. After surveying the damage to find our start line destroyed, tents blown over and debris and flooding along the race course we knew the damage was beyond repair and we had to cancel the event to keep our participants and volunteers safe.

Fortunately we were able to reschedule and give everyone involved a second chance. Although the day started off with a bad case of déjà vu as the weather forecast showed severe storms and baseball size hail in the hours to come, the weather held off. Thousands of supporters showed on June 12th, to run the race and attend the party. Close to 50 area restaurants served food to our hungry runners and of course the Michelob Ultra was in full flow. The run is a local favorite with the race selling out for the past several years.

The Michelob Ultra Katy 5K is our largest fundraiser of the year helping us to reach our annual operating goal of $700,000. While we hoped to net $200,000 from the 5K, we came in just a few thousand shy due to the cost of setting up the event on both dates.  All-in-all we still chalk this year’s event up as a huge success thanks to our sponsors, participants, volunteers and 5K committee. Planning has already started for next year’s event and we look forward to see what Mother Nature throws at us next!

New Wheels on the Katy Trail

Friends of the Katy Trail was gifted some new wheels this summer and if you are on the Katy Trail during the week, then you've probably seen our Trail Manager, Bill Williams, at the helm! Earlier this year we received a call from an anonymous foundation asking about our current needs along the trail and together we decided that the best use of donated funds would be to replace our lemon of a golf cart.

The golf cart is a necessary tool for our staff. Especially for Williams who is on the trail Tuesday – Friday checking to make sure everything is in working order. With 3.5 miles of trail we are constantly undergoing maintenance on our sprinkler systems, lights in addition to removing graffiti and caring for the landscape. Williams isn't just our Trail Manager, he's quite the Katy Trail historian too. A Dallas native and longtime runner, Williams was running the trail when it was still a railroad so he’s seen it come a long way. He has a passion for the Katy Trail and he’s happy to share it so say hello next time you see him. He may even give you a ride.

Our list of needs is constantly growing. If you or your company would like to help out, please contact our office. We’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Start Your Week Off With Some Spice!

It's been too long since we have seen our members so we hope you all can join us August 18th at Fernando's Mexican Cuisine just off the Katy Trail!

Fernando's will graciously be serving up one frozen margarita and chips and salsa to Friends of the Katy Trail members. Dress cool and casual because we will be out on the patio and be sure to RSVP to

Member Social
Fernando's Mexican Cuisine
4514 Travis Street, Suite 201
5pm - 7pm

We're also firming up details on our September member events including a yoga class at Vital Fitness and a North Texas Giving Day celebration at the Katy Trail Ice House. If you aren't sure if your membership is current, but don't want to miss out on all the fun; contact our office and we will help you out. We can be reached at 214.303.1180 or email our Membership and Marketing Director at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We're Raffling off a Plasma TV!

 Buy Raffle Tickets

Our neighbors at Starpower have graciously given us a 51 inch Samsung Plasma TV to raffle off at the Michelob Ultra Katy 5K! Raffle tickets are on sale now and the more you buy - the more you save!

1 for $10
2 for $20
5 for $40 
10 for $85

Not participating in the Michelob Ultra Katy 5K? No problem - you don't have to be present to win. Although we will announce the winner during the event, we will notify our big winner via email following the event on June 12th. Tickets will be available for purchase online through noon on June 11th. They can also be purchased at the Friends of the Katy Trail booth at the Michelob Ultra Katy 5K by cash or credit card.

Tickets are no longer available online, but they can be purchased at the Friends of the Katy Trail tent at the Katy Picnic tomorrow. Winner will be announced around 8:30pm. You do not need to be present to win.

Thank you Starpower for supporting Friends of the Katy Trail! Proceeds from this raffle will go right back in to maintaining the Katy Trail to keep in such great shape for everyone to enjoy!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Safety and Membership Drive - Saturday March 29th!

Spring is here! With that warmer weather comes more people on the Katy Trail and we ask that you all be good stewards by staying safe and respecting your fellow trail users.

On March 29th we will have a Safety Drive on the Katy Trail to educate our trail users and promote safe habits on and off the trail. Stop by and see us - we will be at Snyder's Union from 9am-2pm.. We will have fun activities for the kids like face-painting and the chance to ride along with Highland Park Police Officer Lance Koppa on the Katy Trail at 10am and 11am. And for you adults we will be raffling off gift cards to Luke's Locker and giving away Katy Trail gear.

Special thanks for our partners in this event:
Bicycles Plus
Bike DFW
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital

In the meantime, some good tips to remember are:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Art Contest for Kids!

We're holding an art contest and the winning pieces will be displayed on the Katy Trail! This month we are focusing on Katy Trail safety and we want all ages to get involved. Talk to your kids about what it means to be safe on the trail and then have them portray their safety ideas in a drawing and send it our way. Text with safety slogans are encouraged - here are some helpful reminders:


Then send photo or scan of your child’s safety themed image to us at We will select winners from four categories: grades K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th and 7th-8th.  Not only will your child’s artwork be on display in front of thousands at our Membership and Safety Drive on March 29th, but we will also hook them up with some pretty cool Katy Trail gear and a Katy Trail Kids annual membership. See the full details here. Entries must be received by 3/25 for consideration.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Member Social at Origin Kitchen and Bar!

Join your fellow Friends of the Katy Trail at Origin Kitchen and Bar Tuesday, February 25th for our first member social of 2014! Members will receive a complimentary cocktail and light appetizers will be passed. If you haven't been inside Origin in a couple months, you'll need to see their recently redone space. We hope to see you there!

Origin Kitchen and Bar
Tuesday, 2/25 from 5:00-7:00pm
4438 McKinney Avenue #150

To RSVP and/or check your member status, please email

Monday, January 27, 2014

Friends of the Katy Trail is on the Go!

We have made it easier for you to access our website anytime. This month we launched a mobile friendly website that will make navigating our site easier on your smartphones and tablets. Before the website was optimized it was difficult to read and fill out donation and registration forms, but with help from Interactive Mobile Concepts you can stay up to date on Katy Trail goodness wherever you are. So pick up your tablet or smartphone and check out our new look at now!

Patti Pettit, 2014 David Stocks Award Recipient

Friends of the Katy Trail Executive Director, Robin Baldock, present this year's David Stocks Award to Patti Pettit (right).

Each December we are honored with the task of presenting the David Stocks Award to a deserving volunteer at our year end board meeting. Named after our inaugural Executive Director, the David Stocks Award is presented to someone who has exemplified outstanding service to the Friends of the Katy Trail and we are delighted to announce that our latest recipient is former Board Member, Patti Pettit.

If you have attended one of our member events, then you have likely met Patti. She has lovingly been dubbed our cheerleader due to her positive attitude and warm, welcoming demeanor.  But don’t let that sweet disposition fool you, Patti is a real go-getter. Although due to other ventures, Patti was only able to serve on our board for one year, she accomplished so much in that short time. As chair of our Membership Committee she brought so many new faces to our organization and worked to bring events to our members each month instead of each quarter. She has secured more member perks than anyone in our organization and built many new corporate relationships as well.

Although Patti is no longer on our board she has a passion for the Katy Trail and will work to better the trail and our organization for many years to come. We congratulate Patti on being this year’s David Stocks award recipient and wish her well in her new endeavors.

Huddleston Sculpture and Dedication

Artist Michelle O'Micheal explains her artistic vision to guests at the Huddleston Sculpture Dedication

By now you have surely noticed the new piece of artwork installed on the trail near mile marker 107. The piece, “Steel Remembers” was created by artist Michelle O’Michael through private donations to honor the memory of Lauren Huddleston, the young woman who tragically lost her life on the Katy Trail in 2010. The sculpture design was based on a DNA strip to signify healthy living centered around a curved pole pointing to the heavens showing the journey of Lauren’s soul.

Friends and family of Lauren commissioned both the sculpture and installation on the Katy Trail and a formal dedication was held in late September at the Katy Trail Ice House. The dedication was attended by many of Lauren’s family and friends who helped make the sculpture possible. Lauren’s legacy will live on in other ways as well. She was an organ donor and her donor recipient attended the dedication along with his family. It truly was an inspiring and beautiful day.

“This sculpture is a celebration of the lives of all trail users, especially Ms. Huddleston,” said O’Michael and we couldn’t agree more. Not only is this a beautiful addition the Katy Trail, but we hope it serves as a reminder to all to be safe and mindful of others on the Katy Trail.

Uptown Dallas Supports the Katy Trail and Our Police Officers

Executive Director Robin Baldock, Police Officers Phil Misgrove and Rob Readdy and Membership and Marketing Director Lauren Whitson with new donated bikes.

Uptown Dallas has been longtime supporters of Friends of the Katy Trail and we recently honored them with their own mile marker engraved in the path. You will find them north of the mile marker 110 between the Lemmons.

For the past two years Uptown’s donations have gone to help fund our off-duty police officers.We spend more than $50,000 a year on off-duty police officer salaries to make sure peak hours and weekends are always covered. To have Uptown cover half the cost is a huge relief to our budget.

“The Katy Trail is such an important part of what makes Uptown so enjoyable, and enhancing public safety in the neighborhood is a major initiative for Uptown Dallas, Inc.  With that in mind, continuing our support of the bicycle police patrol on the Trail was a no-brainer”, says Amy Gibson, Executive Director of Uptown Dallas, Inc.

Uptown isn’t the only one giving our officers props lately. After an anonymous donor learned that the condition of our weekday officers bikes was less than ideal, he helped us purchase new ones. Our officers bike between 30 and 40 miles on the Katy Trail each day so it is crucial for them to have top notch equipment to better serve our trail users.

Safety is our number one priority on the Katy Trail and we are thankful to have such outstanding police officers monitoring the Katy Trail. They work long hours in all sorts of weather conditions to keep everyone safe. Next time you see them out on the trail let them know you appreciate their efforts.

Goal Surpassed for Annual Support Campaign

Each October, the Friends of the Katy Trail conducts an Annual Support Campaign to raise money for operations and ensure we meet our annual fundraising goal. This is one of the few times we ask supporters to give in addition to their membership. Our goal for 2013 was $150,000 which was up from $125,000 in 2012. A lofty goal considering the short 30 day timeline, but you all delivered and we not only met, but surpassed our goal making our 2014 Annual Support Campaign total $174,828! We are extremely grateful to have the support of so many families and businesses in our area.

Major support came from Trammel Crow Residential donating $25,000! Other top donors include Alamo Manhattan, Company Café, JLB, Hillwood, Katy Trail Ice House, Sarofim Realty and Westdale. Thank you banners are up along the trail recognizing individual donors that gave $1,000 or more and businesses that gave $5,000. Check them out and be sure to thank those you know for supporting the Katy Trail. To view a complete list of all of our major supporters click here.

Each year we are tasked with raising more than $650,000 to fund the electric and water bills, salaries for safety patrol officers, and maintenance and improvements for the Katy Trail.  With over 20 acres of trail to landscape, fertilize and preserve these funds are dire to keeping the trail safe, beautiful and clean. We are grateful for such a giving community who believe in the Katy Trail and hope to see it continue to flourish in years to come.

Ways to continue to support the Katy Trail in 2014:

Trammell Crow Residential Hosts Annual Better Best Event

Our annual Better Best event, which honors our top donors, was hosted by Trammell Crow Residential at Old Parkland on November 14th. All members who give at the Better Membership level of $500 and above are invited to hear the latest news on the Katy Trail and most importantly, it’s a chance for our staff and board to personally thank donors for their support. The event was chaired by former board member and current membership committee member Pat Snoots who has worked with us on the event for several years. Other notable attendees include Bobby Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek and Sarah and Jim Hutcheson.

Trammell Crow Residential has been long time supporters of the Katy Trail and with their current development in the works off the Katy Trail at ‘Goat Hill’ it was a perfect time to partner with them on this event. We are extremely grateful to TCR for inviting us to celebrate with them at their beautiful venue and we appreciate their mindset to give back to the neighborhood treasure that is the Katy Trail. This past Annual Support Campaign Trammell Crow Residential donated $25,000.

We look forward to the Better Best cocktail event all year long and thank all those who were in attendance. Our donors are what makes the Katy Trail so special and we can’t wait to celebrate with you all again soon.

Other Odds, Ends and Events

Our mailing address is changing. We will now be using our physical address for all mail. If you have a return envelope with our old address, it should be forwarded to us, but please take note that our new mailing address is:

5207 McKinney Avenue, Suite 19A
Dallas, TX 75205

We’re right off the trail on the north end. Stop by and see us sometime!

We know you’ve been dying to know and we are ready to tell you. Our 2014 Michelob Ultra Katy 5K will be held on Thursday, May 8th. Online registration will open March 1st so set your calendars because you know it will sell out!

Other member events:

February 25th - Member Social at Origin Kitchen and Bar
March 20 – Member Social at Mattito’s
March 29 – Membership and Safety Drive on the Katy Trail

Be sure to check out our Events page often for updates!