A dream project nearly a decade in the making came to fruition at a 3 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 1.
The new Cliff Drive and Spirit of KC Scenic Byways Trail is a 10-foot wide, 3,643 linear-foot walking and bicycling trail that connects the southwest gate of Cliff Drive (near Lexington Ave. and The Paseo) through Kessler Park to 3rd and Holmes in Columbus Park.
Adam Schieber, President of the Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the final product was worth the ups and downs of an eight-year process.
“It’s always kind of been an island, and so we thought, ‘Well, let’s build a bridge to that island,” Schieber said. We’re just glad it’s here, and we’re going to do continue to do wonderful, fun things here at Cliff Drive.”
First District Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner suggested that the new trail can help the City coordinate family-friendly programming in and around Cliff Drive.
“It’s only through these sorts of investments that we can do the programming that’s necessary, that we can bring the sort of activity that we want,” Wagner said. “That activity does not happen without being intentional. This is a great example of that.”
“It’s a big deal for the Northeast, and it’s a big deal for Kansas City, too.”
Bids for the project were received in August 2016, and Gunter Construction Company’s low bid of $718,723 was selected. The final construction cost came in at just over $759,000, below the amount of the $832,518 Scenic Byways grant. The total funding for the project was $1.052 million including the engineering and design elements, a budget that was buoyed by a $220,000 PIAC match from the 3rd and 4th Council districts.
In addition to the main trail, two alternate project items were also included in the final construction: a shared bike lane that continues through Columbus Park, and an eight-foot concrete trail that connects the west gate of Cliff Drive to the new trailhead, and on to the intersection of The Paseo and Missouri Avenue.
Additional features include 22 ADA-compliant ramps, 21 ‘Scenic Byway’ signs, and 200 feet of steel fencing. Wagner called the opening of the trail just one more in an exciting “string of successes” for the Historic Northeast community.
“You now have another linkage from the River Market area to here, which is then connected to what’s going on in Cliff Drive, which is connected to what’s going on at KCUMB,” said Wagner. “It’s an invitation to the rest of the community to come here to Northeast and see what’s going on.”
Construction of the trail began with path-clearing efforts in November 2016, and work was completed in December of 2017.