Connectivity continues to build as trail enthusiasts gathered Friday, Nov. 1 during the opening of the City’s two newest trails near popular parks in southwest Joplin.
The public came out for the official ribbon cutting with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the completion of the Mohaska Trail and eagerly await the finish of the St. John’s Trail. Construction on a large retaining wall of the St. John’s Trail has been slightly delayed due to wet weather conditions.
The event brought many together to enjoy a walk on the Mohaska Trail while visiting with other citizens and some businesses who are active in walking, cycling and running in this area.
Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw presented a Proclamation to the community of trail enthusiasts noting that their commitment to healthy living and accessibility for all residents makes Joplin a better place.
“The City is always proud to bring projects to completion that are a part of the long-term vision of our citizens,” said Shaw. “Connecting our community with trails provides an alternative to motor vehicles and offers recreational opportunities as well, making them a great asset for Joplin.”
Mohaska Trail begins near Mercy Park and winds through neighborhoods to the east before connecting with 26th (Gabby Street) and Main where citizens can access both the Midtown and Southtown mixed use districts and safely cross and continue toward Garvin Park at 28th and Virginia Avenue. It is approximately 1.15 miles long. St. John’s Trail is a one-half mile trail heading south. It will connect with the future Tin Cup Trail.
Funding for the Mohaska Trail was through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) following the 2011 disaster. St. John’s Trail was funded through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) through Missouri Department of Transportation, Joplin Parks and Stormwater sales tax revenues and CDBG-DR funding.
“The Mohaska Trail provides a safer place for residents to get outdoors and enjoy an active lifestyle that promotes and encourages better health and wellness and a means for the community to connect,” said HUD Regional Administrator Jason Mohr.
“The City has a comprehensive trail plan,” said Troy Bolander, Director of Planning, Community Development and Neighborhood Services. “Through our partnership with JATSO, the vision is to connect southwest Missouri through a series of trails so residents can easily commute by foot or bicycle throughout Joplin and to surrounding cities such as Carl Junction, Webb City and even Carthage. Mohaska and St. John’s Trails are a great addition to this system,”
Members of Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization (JATSO) updated the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan in 2018 after talking with numerous stakeholders and hosting several public meetings. Many citizens participated, offering input and comments to current and future needs for non-motorized transportation options in the area.
It can be found at https://www.joplinmo.org/bikepedplan
Providing off-road transportation options within a community gives citizens of all ages a choice on how they move through the community, while accommodating their safety. The City appreciates the citizens’ engagement and the efforts of all involved in JATSO’s work to ensure that projects, such as trails, focus on the region’s core initiatives of safety and connectivity within the overall plan.