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Springfield City Council approved a grant to build missing sections of the Jordan Creek Trail near the intersection of Division Street and Fremont Avenue through Smith Park.
Provided by Springfield-Greene County Park Board
Springfield City Council approved a grant to build missing sections of the Jordan Creek Trail near the intersection of Division Street and Fremont Avenue through Smith Park.

Council looks to grants for adding bike, walking trails within city

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A trio of agenda items at last night’s meeting of Springfield City Council aim to connect portions of the city’s greenways trail system.

Council voted to accept one grant and held public hearings on the acceptance of two others.

Council accepted $115,242 in federal transportation enhancement grant funds through the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to build a multiuse path through Smith Park, 1536 E. Division St.

Grady Porter, a traffic engineer with the Public Works department, said the federal funding would fund most of the design and construction of the project, joining the existing Jordan Creek Trail to the newly constructed 10-foot path along Division Street.

The grant also funds safety enhancements in the form of flashing pedestrian warning signs at Division Street and Weller Avenue.

The grant provides 80% funding for the project, and the city’s 20% match of $28,810 includes $25,600 from the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the rest from the walkability program of the city’s eighth-cent transportation sales tax.

Two additional bills, to be voted on at the Nov. 6 council meeting, would allow the city to enter into a federal carbon reduction program agreement with Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the design portion of trailways construction.

A $61,295 MHTC grant would provide 80% of the design costs for the $76,619 project to construct a pedestrian and bike path along Sherman Parkway from Jordan Valley Park to Chestnut Expressway, according to the explanation of the bill from Public Works officials.

The report notes the connection would improve walkability and bikeability from downtown venues to Ozarks Technical Community College, Drury University and other amenities on the Jordan Valley Trail. The 20% match of $15,324 would come from the city’s walkability program of the eighth-cent transportation sales tax.

Evan Clark, a city resident who said he commutes by bike along the Sherman Parkway route five days a week, spoke in favor of the measure.

“Seeing a new pathway here is very exciting for me,” he said. “There’s also going to be significant safety changes – positive safety changes.”

He said as the bike pathway exists now, it is necessary to dive across a merging lane from Chestnut Expressway to cross.

“I’m aware of all the dangers there, but I don’t expect everyone to be,” he said.

Another $96,641 MHTC grant would provide 80% of the design costs for a $120,801 project to build a pedestrian pathway along Sunset Street from Fremont to Glenstone avenues. This project would connect the South Creek Trail to the Battlefield Mall and Glenstone corridor. For this project, the city’s match, amounting to $24,160, would also come from the walkability program of the eighth-cent transportation sales tax.

The two pending projects clear the way for federal funds to be used for the construction phases through the Transportation Alternative Programs of the Federal Highways Administration. The funds are not guaranteed, but they would be in the amounts of $408,636 and $644,270, respectively, according to the explanations of the bills.

One of the top 10 initiatives of the city’s Forward SGF 20-year comprehensive plan, adopted by Springfield City Council in November 2022, is to close gaps in the greenways trail network, dubbed UnGap the Map.

That effort is already underway on the part of the city, the Park Board and the Ozark Greenways Inc. nonprofit to build on 77 miles of trails that exist in the city and expand the network to over 140 miles, according to the Forward SGF plan.

In the Forward SGF planning process, residents expressed a desire for more connections among the trail system and neighborhoods, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

In another walkability measure, council accepted $130,385 in federal transportation enhancement funds through the MHTC to support design of sidewalks along Mount Vernon Street and Miller Avenue. The total design cost is $162,981, with the city’s 20% share to come from the walkability program of the eighth-cent transportation sales tax.

The city has prepared a transportation improvement program project to allow the use of $869,236 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds that could become available for the construction phase.

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