The project’s first phase will cross Hawthorne Road and end in the wetlands of Center Creek, on North Madison Street (County Road 230). A parking lot will be built on the west side of the road. Building a bridge across Center Creek will be the second phase.
Organization hopes to jump start its long-range project with a $300,000 grant that it will have to match with its own $100,000
The first of three phases to join the Frisco Greenway Trail to the Ruby Jack Trail will be through Webb City.
Bob Herbst, vice president of the Joplin Trails Coalition, says the Frisco trailway, which stretches north from Broadway in Joplin to Broadway in Webb City, will connect to the new extension by taking the sidewalk on North Madison Street to Crow Street.
The extension will start at Crow Street with an 8-foot-wide concrete sidewalk that will join the Stadium Drive sidewalk.
Webb City Housing Authority has previously purchased and fenced in the railroad easement adjacent to its property north of Crow Street.
“We thought the best alternative is to build next to it (housing authority fence).
Once past the housing authority property, the concrete sidewalk will follow the berm west of Webb City Middle School.
Herbst says the reason the trail will be concrete along that section is that engineers feel it will withstand flooding better than gravel.
From Stadium Drive (left corner), the trail will follow the tree line north. Once past the lake, it will turn northwest toward the entrance road to the sewage treatment on North Madison Street. In the distance on the right is Robin Ridge subdivision. Unseen to the right are the ballpark and the housing and apartment areas on the west side of North Main Street.
From there, the typical pea-gravel surface trail will follow the Frisco railroad easement north and west through the city’s Cardinal Valley Habitat to North Madison Street (County Road 230). It will follow a tree line north of Stadium Drive and veer northwest past the mobile home park and meet up with Madison Street across from the road to the Center Creek 201 Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The railroad easement north of Stadium Drive to Madison Street is visible on the Beacon map of Jasper County.
The trail will turn north, following Madison Street across Hawthorne Road into the Center Creek valley. There will be a trailhead with parking lot on the west side of Madison Street, across from a city-owned lake that’s also part of Cardinal Valley Habitat.
According to Herbst, the city already was planning on building a parking lot at the same location so it’s a “win-win” for the city and coalition.
Herbst says the cost of the first phase has been estimated at $400,000.
How soon the project begins depends on when the coalition receives a Transportation Alternative Program grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The next round of TAP grants is to be announced in March. If approved, the TAP grant would pay 75% of the cost, meaning the coalition will have to come up with $100,000 in matching funds.
The coalition got a late start on applying for the grant, but Herbst says, “We think we have a strong case.”
The coalition’s application has been endorsed by the Webb City Council and Webb City R-7 School Board.
Herbst says one of the biggest supporters of the plan is Dustin Miller, Webb City cross country and track coach. Rather than drive his distance runners to the Ruby Jack Trail, they could start running behind the high school.
Fundraising has begun in anticipation of grant approval. Memberships ($35) and donations are accepted on the coalition’s website.
If the coalition’s application is not among those approved, Herbst says it will give the group more time to improve its application and raise more money. The coalition got a late start on the current round of funding.
The second phase of the effort to join the Frisco and Ruby Jack trails will be to cross Center Creek by building a bridge. There are two relatively new bridges for vehicle traffic going over the creek, but the coalition feels it would be safer to have its own bridge.
The third phase plan is to take advantage of Oronogo streets, going north on Second Street, east on Central Street and north on John Street. From the end of John Street, a trail will be built to meet the Ruby Jack, which passes east-west through the north part of Oronogo.
“We realize it’s going to be a long-time project,” says Herbst. “It’s taken 20 years” to get the Ruby Jack nearly finished. The Frisco trail was started more than 30 years ago, in 1990.
Herbst says the coalition’s past successes are proof to the public that the organization is slow but serious. “People see progress and they get excited about it.”