KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Those who stopped at the Parks and Recreation meeting Thursday night on the Cliff Drive and Spirit of KC Scenic Byway Trail learned about the design of a new trail.
But they also learned an original trail idea is still in the works.
At the meeting, representatives from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department answered questions about the location and design of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along Third Street, Cherry Street, Independence Avenue and Cliff Drive. The new, two-mile route connects the Riverfront Heritage Trail, the Spirit of KC Scenic Byway and the Cliff Drive Scenic Byway via Independence Avenue.
The Parks and Recreation Department is still in the public meeting phase of the project and funding for the project is currently estimated at about $500,000 with construction slated to begin late this summer. The connecting trail should be open to the public in time to enjoy during the summer months of 2015.
Initial plans called for the route to avoid Independence Avenue and travel under I-35 and connect the West end of the Cliff Drive Scenic ByWay and the Old Northeast to Downtown and the city’s River Market district. Will Royster, president of the Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee, said the original plan is still in play and right now, “we’re calling this route phase one.”
“We struck a compromise with the Parks [and Recreation] Department that would eventually lead to a corridor to connect through Kessler Park from Cliff Drive,” Royster said. “Because of ADA [Americans with Disabilities] guidelines, we weren’t able to get the original route but we asked what we needed to do and are working on that right now.”
Royster said he didn’t want those who actively use the Kansas City trails to get discouraged. He said he’s currently working with city officials, as well as the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice to get the route originally planned.
“This is the ADA accessible portion of the route,” Royster said. “We still plan to go through Kessler Park.” Connecting the Cliff Drive Scenic Byway” Royster noted, “to the Spirit of Kansas City Byway could turn Cliff Drive and Kessler Park into destination”