The City of Neosho has received a $210,000 grant to assist in the continuation of the city's trail and sidewalk improvements.
The Transportation Enhancement Program grant, provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation, will fund the majority of the sidewalk replacement starting near the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.
The 2,750-foot long, five-foot wide sidewalk addition will run from where the last trail update left off, near the hatchery, along McKinney Street and continue on to a city green area, where the old Benton School was once located.
"The project will expand the number of opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle users," said Neosho Development Services Director Dana Daniel in a prepared statement. "By reaching out to neighborhoods that adjoin the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, more opportunities present themselves for all members of the community to participate in healthy choices and educational choices."
"I just think that this is another positive step for Neosho to move forward in enhancing our city," said city manager Troy Royer.
Royer said the total project cost is estimated at $279,500.
The local cost share is $69,500.
The City of Neosho applied for two surface transportation program grants last fall, one for the continuation of the trail, and another to create paved paths through a green space where the First Baptist Church had formerly been located just off the square.
The city was not awarded the grant for the green space project, though the grant they did receive is the larger of the two.
The city's most recent trail project, completed in October 2012, was the construction of a 10-foot wide concrete trail, running around the east side of the Morse Park soccer fields, between the fields and Hickory Creek, and connecting Spring Street with McKinney Street, using a similar MoDOT grant along with private donations.
That trail ended near the hatchery, where the new one is set to begin as a crosswalk and then turn into a sidewalk going south and turning east onto Park Street, up to the former Benton site.
Royer said he would like to someday see the city-owned site turned into a neighborhood park.
He said in discussions with Land3 Studio, the landscape architecture firm hired to perform a study of the city's parks, more neighborhood parks have been suggested.
"I think this will help start to accomplish that," Royer said. "This will enable us to be able to do more at the Benton site."
At one time, the city had a parks master plan that outlined 12 miles worth of new trails throughout Neosho. Royer said he would like to see the plan eventually implemented, if possible.