A recent bluegrass festival held in Downtown Pacific raised $3,149 for the proposed River Walk trail project, according to event organizer Alderman Steve Myers.
City plans call for acquiring land and constructing hiking-biking trails along the Meramec River in Old Town Pacific.
The bluegrass event was held Saturday, July 26, from 2 to 10 p.m. in Pacific Station Plaza on South First Street and in the McHugh-Dailey Opera House.
Myers presented the proceeds, minus expenses, over to Collector Debbie Kelley July 31, which included $521 in checks made out to the Pacific Partnership.
The Partnership has agreed to deposit the checks in its account and write a check to the city of Pacific for the full amount, Kelley said.
“We support the River Walk and want to do everything we can to make it happen,” said Bill McLaren, Partnership president.
The Partnership also donated use of the Plaza, which it is developing, the portable stage, electricity and its name to the benefit. Partnership members joined city street department workers in setting up and tearing down the event.
Myers said the checks were made to the Partnership to enable patrons who sponsored the event, made direct donations or made purchases in the silent auction to use their payments as taxable deductions.
All of the funds will be deposited into the city’s general fund and allocated to a budget line item for the River Walk, Kelley said. The line item was established last year.
Prior to the bluegrass fundraiser, the line item had a $50 balance, representing a donation in January 2014, but efforts to develop the walking trail go back five years.
If it’s developed, the River Walk could tie the city of Pacific walking trails with the vast St. Louis County trail system on the east to a trail leading to Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit on the west.
Pacific was awarded a $4,000 grant in 2011 to complete a feasibility study of the proposed trail system that would purchase the farm of Louis “Bud” and Barbara Brundick, the only Meramec River access point within the city limits.
The St. Louis County municipal parks grant program awarded the 80-20 matching grant. A certified parks and recreation professional with Cochran Engineering helped obtain the grant and developed the trails master plan.
When a second grant application for funds to buy the Brundick farm was unsuccessful in January 2012, former City Administrator Harold Selby said the city would try again and eventually it was envisioned that the River Walk trail project would be considered a city park.
“No definite plans had been agreed to for the park by the city,” Selby said. “Initially, it would just be an addition to the city park system.”
Myers, who dubbed the project Pacific River Walk, has worked with area outdoor organizations to promote the trail.
In September 2013, aldermen approved a second application for funds to purchase a 25-acre portion of the Brundick farm for the project.
Supporters of the project say in addition to providing recreation for citizens, the proposed trails would be a great boost for local tourism and the local economy.