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Ozark Greenways Executive Director Mary Kromrey in August 2018 poses next to the Fassnight Creek Greenway, which will be improved as part of the new grant.
SBJ file photo
Ozark Greenways Executive Director Mary Kromrey in August 2018 poses next to the Fassnight Creek Greenway, which will be improved as part of the new grant.

Springfield awarded $21M grant

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The wait is over. Springfield was chosen to receive a nearly $21 million grant to expand the city’s greenway trail system — for a path that leads to downtown.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, announced the grant award in a news release this afternoon. Funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary Grants program, aka BUILD, comes through the U.S. Department of Transportation. BUILD has a maximum $25 million grant award.

The $21 million is earmarked to connect downtown Springfield to the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. Springfield Business Journal last year reported the city, Ozark Greenways Inc. and other stakeholders were working to secure the federal funding for what’s called the Grant Avenue Parkway Trail Connection Project.

Blunt, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in July sent a letter of support to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“By connecting Springfield’s parks, museums and other cultural destinations to the city’s growing downtown district, this project will spur economic development and boost the tourism industry,” Blunt said in the release.

The funding, according to the release, would be used to reconstruct 3.3 miles of a multiuse bicycle and pedestrian path on Grant Avenue from downtown Springfield to Sunshine Street. Plans include bike lanes, a roundabout and improvements to intersections and the crossing at Fassnight Creek.

“This grant will help the city take a giant step forward in carrying out the City Council priorities of economic vitality and quality of place,” Mayor Ken McClure said in the release.

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