Springfield, MO

Log in Subscribe

$1.6M headed for new greenway trails

Posted online

Several local communities will expand their greenway trail system over the next couple of years via a $1.6 million distribution from the Ozarks Transportation Organization.

The grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation will go to the cities of Springfield, Battlefield, Ozark and Republic, as well as Ozark Greenways Inc., said Adam Thomason, OTO’s senior planner.

Springfield, Battlefield and Ozark were awarded design and construction funds to bolster existing greenway trails, totaling roughly 7,100 linear feet.

Ozark got the largest portion of the funding, at $870,000, to develop the southern portion of the planned 7.5-mile Chadwick Flyer Greenway Trail, beginning this summer.

Battlefield was awarded $286,000 to add to the Trail of Tears Greenway, and Springfield received $217,000 to connect the Fassnight Creek Greenway between Phelps Grove Park and the Springfield Art Museum. Springfield and Battlefield both target a fall 2021 or spring 2022 start for their projects, Thomason said.

Republic received $394,000 in design and right-of-way acquisition funds for a future plan to extend the Schuyler Creek Trail nearly 2 miles to Battlefield. But officials say no timetable is in place.

Ozark Greenways received a $100,000 grant, said Executive Director Mary Kromrey, and the Springfield-based nonprofit is chipping in $25,000 to provide regional trail planning services in cooperation with OTO over the next two years.

“We started feeling the pull to start going outside of Springfield and Greene County to help other communities,” Kromrey said, noting Ozark Greenways can be a resource for OTO to get trail projects shovel-ready. “Whether it’s for talent attraction and recruitment, conservation benefits, health benefits, we can continue to beat that drum. This is going to help us beat it a little louder.”

She said reaching out to landowners and community members on getting trail projects ready for construction is typically behind-the-scenes work. Ozark Greenways’ newly awarded funds also will allow an office manager to join the two-person staff in that work.

“We hope to start bolstering some communitywide engagement and education and promotion of a regional trails system,” she said.

Part of that connective trail runs between Springfield and Ozark, where it may cross U.S. Highway 65. Officials already had planned a roughly $8 million new greenway trail spanning over 7 miles on the Chadwick Flyer Greenway Trail. It’ll take the trail from the edge of Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield south to the Ozark Community Center, 1530 W. Jackson St.

Ozark’s OTO grant covers nearly half of the project’s $1.8 million cost to build the trail’s southern portion. The project includes over 4,000 linear feet of trails and two underpasses along Jackson Street, with a primary focus on bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, said Jeremy Parsons, Ozark’s Public Works director.

The work is being done in conjunction with a roughly $10 million Jackson Street widening project by the Missouri Department of Transportation, set to begin this summer.

“We saw this as our one opportunity in the next 30 years or so to make pedestrian improvements we need as well,” Parsons said.

The city was able to match over 50% of the project cost, including $323,000 from the Ozark R-6 School District, as well as annual surface transportation program funds and transportation sales tax revenue.

“This is kind of setting the foundation to go north. We’re actually crossing one of our largest physical barriers besides Highway 65,” he said of Jackson Street.

In Springfield, discussions continue with BNSF Railway Co. and City Utilities, Kromrey said. The two companies are the main landowners on the Greene County side of the planned trail. Next up are six landowners along the trail route to discuss easements. Those conversations with Ozark Greenways will ultimately determine the trail’s alignment.

“With ongoing talks with Burlington and CU, and the momentum on the south end, we were waiting for these consulting dollars to come in so that Ozark Greenways can scale up a bit and reach out to the landowners by late summer,” she said.

Although Ozark is set to be the first of the trail projects to begin construction, Thomason said Springfield and Battlefield won’t be standing still. Each community has until August 2021 to get engineering and environmental work complete with funds ready for obligation. All grant recipients have to provide a 20% match.

The Ozark project is set to wrap up by fall 2021, according to city officials. Parsons said getting funding from OTO was vital to make the project a reality.

“We could have taken a smaller bite, maybe,” he said. “But to take this large of a stab at the southern end of the trail, there’s no way.”


No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick
O'Reilly Center for Hope opens doors

The $3 million neighborhood hub unites community resources under one roof.

Most Read