RICE -- New walking trails, future parks and overall beatification in Rice took a step closer during Monday's city council meeting.

The council unanimously approved the hiring of a firm to design a comprehensive park and trail plan for the city.

Council member Brian Skroch says the city hasn't had the necessary funding to put into area parks, and could not apply for grants due to a lack of a comprehensive plan.

"Every grant we've applied for, they've told us if you don't have a comprehensive plan, we don't know what you're planning to do, we're leaving. So it lead us into this direction," says Skroch.

Skroch says the city has several pieces of land that was donated to them over the years, which they would like to develop into new parks. One of their main goals is to design a trail to Bend in the River Park.

"One of the biggest things we've talked about is trying to connect to Bend in the River Park with a bike trail or walking path. We have this great park a mile out of town we can't get too other than the county road," says Skroch.

Skroch says the next step is to enter into an official contract agreement with the firm. If all goes well the park plan could completed by August.