The Neosho City Council on Tuesday voted to authorize the mayor to sign off on a contract between the city and the Missouri Department of Transportation, allowing the city to move forward on a $210,000 transportation enhancement grant.
Council approved the proposal on first reading, with councilman David Ruth dissenting.
The grant would fund a 2,750-foot long, five-foot wide sidewalk addition running from where the last trail update left off, near the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, along McKinney Street and continue on to a city green area, where the old Benton School was once located.
The local cost share is $69,500, if the project stays within the expected budget, according to Dana Daniel, the city's director of development services.
The city learned of its approval for the grant in early January.
The city's most recent trail project was a 10-foot wide concrete trail, completed last October, that runs around the east side of the Morse Park soccer fields, between the fields and Hickory Creek and connects Spring Street with McKinney Street. That project was also funded from a similar MoDOT grant, as well as private donations.
That trail left off near the fish hatchery, where the new one is set to pick up.
The new trail would begin as a crosswalk and then turn into a sidewalk going south and turning east onto Park Street, up to the former Benton site, which is currently a city green space.
City manager Troy Royer has spoken previously of turning that site into a neighborhood park.
The City of Neosho applied for two surface transportation program grants last fall, though the trails grant, the larger of the two, was the only one approved.
The city had also applied for a grant to create paved paths through a green space where the First Baptist Church had formerly been located just off the square.
Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson asked that the city consult the master plan before pursuing new grants and projects.
"After we get this project under way, it's probably time to do a comprehensive plan, not only for sidewalk improvements but for the city in general," Davidson said. "To lay out for the next five years what we want to see and make sure that as we apply for these grants that they're fitting into the master plan."
Daniel told council members that upon their final approval, the city would begin seeking bids for engineering services.
At one time, the city had a parks master plan that outlined 12 miles worth of new trails throughout Neosho. Royer has said previously that he would like to see the plan eventually implemented, if possible.
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Read more about Tuesday's council meeting in Thursday's edition of the Neosho Daily News.