Mayor Jeff Palmore said a discussion between The Missourian and one alderman about the city creating a foundation for the River Walk trail project is premature.
“No one has decided that a foundation would be set up for the River Walk project,” he said. “There have been no closed meetings and no discussions involving the board of aldermen on setting up foundation.”
Palmore further said that no one individual can make a decision or instruct the attorney to set up a foundation.
“Not the mayor and not a single alderman,” Palmore said.
The Missourian had asked the mayor about the reasons and benefits of setting up a River Walk foundation following a telephone conversation with Alderman Steve Myers.
Myers said that he and City Attorney Matt Schroeder are working together to set up a foundation to raise funds for the River Walk project.
That conversation took place when The Missourian asked for a report on funds raised at the July 26 Bluegrass event which benefited the River Walk. The concert was held in Downtown Pacific, which Myers organized. (See separate story.)
“There are things that you don’t know,” Myers told The Missourian. “The city attorney and I are working to set up a foundation.”
Myers conceived the idea and began to promote the River Walk Project as early as 2008. He involved local Boy Scouts in helping to define the scope of the trails system along the Meramec River in Old Town Pacific. He also obtained the support of the Open Space Council and other environmental groups.
The proposed hiking-biking trail became a city project when the city of Pacific applied for and received a grant to study the project.
The city also applied for a grant to purchase the property for the trails. That grant was denied and a second application has been made.
The only Meramec River access in the city is on the Louis “Bud” and Barbara Brundick farm, which is entered at the east end of Orleans Street.
At present, the property is not listed for sale, but there have been some talks with the Brundicks about acquiring a portion of the farm for the River Walk project.
At present, there are no funds to buy land or develop the trails system, but the proposed project has gained support among city officials and some residents.
Stephen Flannery, Pacific Park Board president, has championed a hiking trail along Brush Creek between Liberty Field and the city park.
“Eventually we hope to have a series of hiking-biking trails in the city,” he said.
Flannery also said hiking-biking trails are just one element among a huge list of improvements in the city parks that the park board wants to see completed.
The city has set up a line item for the River Walk in the city budget. The total is $3,199, which includes the Blue Grass concert proceeds and a $50 donation made in January 2014.