Riverfront Trail Expansion

An early rendering of the proposed western expansion of the riverfront trail was presented to the city council at the Oct. 26 administration/operations meeting. The new trail, shown in yellow, would be 12 feet wide and 1 mile long.    Submitted Photo.

Work on the new western portion of the riverfront trail can officially begin.

The city of Washington was formally given a notice to proceed with the project Friday, June 9. The state signed off on the environmental review and gave the city permission to start work.

Parks and Recreation Director Darren Dunkle said the notice will allow the city to begin the bidding process. Right now city staff are preparing bid documents to purchase materials for construction of the trail.

Before any work could begin, a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) application had to be approved. Dunkle said the city was hoping to have the application approved at the end of April.

He said the delay has altered the timeline of the project somewhat.

“We’re a little behind schedule of what we wanted to do,” Dunkle said. “We have three years to build it, and that’s not going to be an issue . . . we wanted to start at the beginning of May. That way, we’d have it done by the end of August.

“To a certain degree though, not getting the approval hasn’t delayed us that much because, with the flooding, we wouldn’t have been able to start anyway,” he said.

The city needs to bid for items to build the trail and fencing along the site. Once the bidding is complete, work can begin.

Dunkle said the site should be ready to go, despite the recent flooding.

“There’s some wood and some debris that floated up in there, but other than that, it really hasn’t been affected,” he said.

To help pay for the trail, the city received a Missouri Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant last September to help pay for the new trail.

The $150,000 grant will cover things like rock, signage and the ability to contract out the asphalt work for the mile-long trail.

The Washington Rotary Club also pledged a total of $60,000, paid out over three years, to help fund the trail. The city has allotted funds for the work in the 2016-17 budget.

The RTP  grant calls on the city to have the project completed in three years. Dunkle said this phase of the trail should only take a few months to complete once work begins.

Trail Details

The trail will be constructed to the west of the current trail. The city purchased land in 2015 that paved the way for the trail.

The purchase gave the city land along the Missouri River, from South Point west to St. John’s Creek.

The proposed 12-foot-wide trail would extend west from the end of Elbert Drive across the former Rau and Politte properties which the city acquired. The new trail would be about 1 mile long.

Based on plans presented last year, the trail would “snake” around the 42-acre parcel of undeveloped land and around the 12.4 acres of wetlands on the site.

The trail would run along the northern boundary of the site near the Missouri River and then wind through forest heading west where it would cross an existing culvert bridge.

The trail then would loop around an existing agricultural field near the confluence of St. John’s Creek, the Missouri River and the City Park Creek.