by Alan McArthur
On Saturday, the city of Riverside and Platte County celebrated National Trails Day at E.H. Young Park along the Missouri River. Both Riverside and Platte County displayed their plans to build more trails in the area.
Platte County has already constructed nearly 12 miles of trails since starting in 2002. There are plans to build an additional eight miles, including five miles to serve as a Missouri Riverfront Trail.
Riverside is planning several new trail projects to connect different communities within the city limits, as well as connect to larger county and metropolitan trails.
“Riverside is at a key intersection of the MetroGreen Plan,” said Kathy Rose, Mayor of Riverside. “We intend to have the Line Creek Trail open this year and are working with our developers to make sure new subdivisions will connect to the trails network.”
The MetroGreen Plan is designed to connect seven counties in the Greater Kansas City area together with trails and open spaces. The plan calls for nearly 1,150 miles of trails and greenways in Kansas City to be constructed over the next 15-25 years.
Platte County’s trail will connect with other counties in the area. One of the first projects planned by Platte County is to build a trail along the Missouri River connecting E.H. Young Park in Riverside with English Landing Park in Parkville.
“The citizens said ‘Let us get back to the river,’” said Brian Nowotny, Platte County Parks and Recreation Director.
The Missouri Riverfront Trail will follow the newly-built Quindaro Bend Levee connecting the two parks. A new wetland preserve is planned for the area between the trail and the river, providing a place for viewing wildlife, fishing, and hiking along the river.
Another possible inclusion in the trail would be an elevated walkway or platform to view the downtown Kansas City skyline.
Construction on the riverfront trail is expected to begin by the Fall of 2007 and be funded by Platte County’s half-cent sales tax for parks and recreation.
Other county trail projects include connecting Weston Bend State Park and English Landing Park along the river, connecting Platte City and other cities in the county with trails, and various other trail networks in the county.
Riverside has several trail plans as part of a Comprehensive Master Plan.
“Riverside values our natural resources,” said Pam Darata, Riverside Ward 3 Alderman. “We feel the natural corridors are perfect for trails and to increase the value of quality of life.”
According to Riverside’s Master Plan, a network of trails will include the riverfront trail as well as, a trail along Line Creek, one following the old InterUrban rail line, and a trail following part of Green Hills Road and High Drive from Renner Brenner Park.
This is the third consecutive year Platte County has dedicated June 2 National Trails Day.
“The citizens of Platte County are enjoying the new trails in increasing numbers,” said Betty Knight, presiding Commissioner of Platte County. “The commission is honored to join in with the city of Riverside and other communities across the county on this day to say that trails are special and highlight the many benefits they provide.”