Park Board and Ozark Greenways Extending Trails in Springfield
Local park officials from across the state are coming together for a three day summit to learn how to make Missouri parks safer and more accessible. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.
Sitting in several conference rooms at the Clarion Hotel on South Glenstone are county park leaders, trail specialists and engineers from all over the state.
They are all at the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association’s Missouri Trail Summit to help improve the parks and trails in their own cities and counties.
Jan Neitzert is the executive director for the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association.
She says the association started this summit to help park organizations find better ways to extend their trails and parks within a growing city.
“One of our goals is education and more broadly outreach. We believe in the causes of parks and recreations in general and this is just one aspect of that very broad topic,” Neitzert said.
Neitzert says she wants children who live in cities around Missouri to still have opportunities to see nature and interact with it in parks or along trails.
She says engineers from bigger cities also attended the summit to help design parks within busy communities.
Jodie Adams, director of parks in Springfield, says the Springfield-Greene County Park Board plans to extend several local trails and this summit will help them do that.
“We’re working on our South Creek trail to extend that on out going west of town to the southwest. We’re working right now on the trail that is out by Lost Hill Park and throughout all the way to Truman school on the north side of town. Then, of course there is a lot of work going on down by 60, 65 and we will be putting more trails down there off of the Galloway trails system,” Adams said.
She says all of these trails are funded by a county wide sales tax as well as state and federal money.
Adams says the park board has also been working really hard to make the parks and trails safer.
“Park rangers are now on bikes. They are now riding the trails for security purposes, so there’s a lot of things a community can do to make sure that you provide the right mix of security, but not also infringe on the enjoyment of the user,” Adams said.
She says there are 93 miles of trails in Greene County and the park board wants to extend that to 130 miles.
Adams says almost 100,000 people have used the trails so far this year, so she says trails are a very important part of our community.
“Trails are about health. Trails are about making sure we have livable communities. Trails are about transportation from working with our environment,” Adams said.
She says Missouri Trail Summit attendees will be taking tours of some of the trails and parks around Springfield to share ideas on how to make them better for local residents.
For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.