HARRISONBURG — The city is now planning to build two small paths after some property owners refused to work with them on a larger trails project.

The original plan called for a $4.2 million, 3-mile path to begin along Garbers Church Road connecting Bluestone Elementary to Harrisonburg High School, looping down and around Heritage Oaks Golf Course and heading up to U.S. 33.

The Virginia Department of Transportation chipped in $1.5 million for the shared-use path through a revenue-sharing grant with the city in 2016. Staff anticipate that VDOT will contribute $600,000 more for the project in another revenue-sharing grant with Harrisonburg, but that decision has not been made, said Tom Hartman, assistant director of public works.

The 3-mile path was largely dependent on the cooperation of 30 property owners because it would have crossed part of their land. Three property owners balked at the idea, Hartman said, forcing staff to consider other options.

One option would be to essentially construct two separate paths: one from Bluestone Elementary to HHS and one from the cul-de-sac on Wyndham Drive to Thomas Harrison Middle School, extending to West Market Street through a property owned by the Cale family, which was donated easements to the city for the path.

The two shorter paths would not require all $4.2 million to build, Hartman said. The city wants to transfer the leftover money to a proposed project on Mount Clinton Pike to install a roundabout at its intersection with Park Road and Chicago Avenue.

VDOT is determining whether Harrisonburg can reappropriate the remaining funds to another project.

If Harrisonburg cannot transfer the money, he said, the city could use it to build a path from Wyndham Woods Circle to Hillandale Park Road and from there to the planned pocket park near the golf course. This option would include the HHS and THMS paths as well.

Staff have not determined the cost of the THMS portion of the project, Hartman said, so he is not sure how much surplus funding would be available. He estimated the shorter paths would cost roughly $1 million to $1.5 million less than the original proposal.

Since the project is in limbo, it is not clear when it would break ground. With the original plan, Hartman estimated the project would be bid out this winter or in early 2019, wrapping up later that fall or winter.