The City of Neosho held a public meeting Tuesday evening to inform local residents about the upcoming trail project planned for McKinney, Hamilton and Park Streets.

The City of Neosho held a public meeting Tuesday evening to inform local residents about the upcoming trail project planned for McKinney, Hamilton and Park Streets.

The grant-funded project, which is an extension of the city's earlier trails project, is set to begin sometime in 2014.
"It's starting where our last project left off at the bridge just east of the hatchery," said engineer Michael Keaton, with Allgeier, Martin and Associates, who are performing the design work for the project. "It's going to total close to 3,000 feet of sidewalk and it'll be built with federal money."

The project is funded 77 percent by a Missouri Department of Transportation Surface Transportation Program grant.
Meanwhile, the city is responsible for the remaining cost, estimated at approximately $69,500.

The trail is expected to begin at the bridge located between the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and Kwik Mart, on McKinney Street, and continue west along McKinney Street, then south onto Hamilton Street, before turning east onto Park Street, where it will end at the former Benton school site, which is currently a city green space.

The project includes replacement of existing sidewalks and installation of handicap access at certain locations along the trail.

"It's going to add the necessary handicap ramps and crosswalks," Keaton said. "Right now there's some areas where there's some handicap ramps but they don't meet current ADA guidelines and it would be really difficult for a wheelchair to access the sidewalk."

Keaton said the new sidewalk will be five-feet wide, up from the four-feet width of the existing sidewalk.

He said with the project, those living along the project's route will also get new driveway aprons, in order to make the slope of the sidewalk compliant with ADA requirements.

Keaton noted that driveway entrance width will be built at a minimum of 12-feet, if it had been 12-feet or smaller prior to the project, while those with larger driveways will have their driveway restored to its existing width.

Troy Royer, Neosho City Manager, assured those in attendance that the project will not be at a cost to the property owners.

He said it is also important to note that this project is part of a master trails plan started long ago.

"It's really not a sidewalk project, it's a trail project and it actually connects certain points in town, which are part of a master trail design plan which was set in place in 2007," Royer said after the meeting. "So really it's just a continuation of trying to connect that trail project, not so much a sidewalk project, it just so happens this portion goes through a residential area so it ends up replacing sidewalk."

With the trail addition, it will connect Morse Park with the open city green space on Park Street, while also passing around the hatchery.

"We're really connecting one park to the hatchery to Morse Park," Royer said.

Some residents in attendance questioned which materials will be used to create the new sidewalk.

Tim Booyer asked the city to do what they could to leave the brick sidewalk running in front of his home intact.
"If you take my brick sidewalk out you are taking away from my property value," Booyer said.

He said he considers the sidewalk a historical part of Neosho, and noted that he has worked diligently to keep his portion of the sidewalk in good shape.

"You're going to take away from my place and I love my place, I love my town," Booyer said. "I owe a debt to the city for putting those sidewalks in in 1940. I also owe them the gratitude of keeping it clean. But I have done my share."

Dana Daniel, the city's director of development services, said city officials are looking into their options on which materials can be used for the sidewalk.

Royer said as the project is federally funded, it's not up to the City of Neosho which materials are allowed.

He said that decision falls on the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.
Daniel noted the requirements the city must adhere to earlier in the meeting.

"We understand we have some property owners who have done a good job of keeping up their sidewalks and we want to be sensitive to that, but we also have some guidelines we have to follow for ADA accessibility since federal funding is involved," Daniel said.

For more information on the project, contact Daniel at 451-8050.