BY JOSHUA PHILLIPS
June 5, 2013
For years, the famous scenic areas of Cliff Drive have been worked on, but thanks to a federally funded grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), major construction to shape up the area is expected to start this year.
Totaling $641,990, the grant will be used to make improvements to the scenic byway. Project managers Korey Schulz of Ochsner Hare & Hare, Michael Russell of Dubois Consultants and Scott Overbay of Kansas City Parks and Recreation presented the drawn-out plans of Cliff Drive to the public Thursday, May 30, at the Don Bosco Senior Center.
Will Royster, president of the Cliff Drive Scenic Byway Corridor Management Committee, attended the meeting and commended the proposed improvements.
“There is a lot of potential for this project and there is a lot to be excited about,” Royster said. “Cliff Drive is an under-utilized asset and there should be way more credit than people give it.”
Royster said he wants to see the future of the Cliff Drive area expand to attract new activities to the area to make it a regional destination for all to see.
The $641,990 grant amount has already been approved; however, MoDOT has to look over the plans to see what changes need to be made for the project. Once MoDOT approves the plan, the city will advertise for bids for 21 days and construction contracts will be awarded.
“Growing up in the Northeast, anyone and everyone knows how important Cliff Drive has been to our area,” State Rep. John “JJ” Rizzo said. “If we clean up the area and treat the area well it will benefit those who use it.”
During the presentation, one of the proposed plans for the trails was to make them eight-feet wide to allow enough space for both pedestrians and bicycle riders. Rizzo said stopping the dumping issues would require cleaning up the area, monitoring it and having more traffic driving through the area.
“(Compared to other public streets), Cliff Drive is out of the way, so the dumpers feel like no one knows what is going on there,” Rizzo said.
Discussion at the Cliff Drive presentation included talks about improving the staircases, widening the trails with a possible concrete finish, restoring the walls along the drive and placing an eight-foot tall fencing wall atop the walls to stop people from dumping trash down the cliffs.
The Cliff Drive restoration project is expected to start in September and take at least 180 days to complete construction.