Monetary support for Missouri Rock Island Trail over $600,000 - State Parks asking for citizen comments about the trail | Central MO Breaking News

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Forward movement on the Missouri Rock Island Trail includes more than $600,000 in pledges from organizations, municipalities and individuals.

All funds are pending the Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Parks' decision to accept or deny the donation of the 144-mile abandoned stretch from Ameren.

Once a railroad, the proposed trail would create a tourist destination for many Missouri communities, proponents believe. Extending from the St. Louis area, the trail would route through or near communities including Versailles, Barnett, Eldon, Eugene, Meta, Argyle, Freeburg, Belle, Bland, Canaan and Owensville.

"We are massing hundreds of thousands of dollars in what we are terming non-binding pledges," said Greg Harris, executive director of Missouri Rock Island Trail Inc.

Harris said it's hard for donors to give a solid commitment when DNR hasn't committed.

MoBikeFed comment: Remember that State Parks held three public meetings about the future of the Rock Island Trail in Oct-Nov 2018 and is accepting public comments until Nov 30th, 2018.

Your comments to State Parks are critical for the future of this potential cross-state trail.

Leave your comments here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RILC_InfoMtgs_Fall2018

Suggested points to make in your comments to State Parks:

* You strongly support the trail and feel State Parks is the best organization to take over and manage the entire corridor for the long term.

* It is imperative that, above all, the entire corridor be preserved intact for the future.

* State Parks should accept and manage it--but should look primarily to outside funding and resources to develop the trail. No one is expecting State Parks to lead the way in covering the expense of trail building, when their budget is already stretched to the limit.

* Given State Parks' budget pressures, State Parks need to be looking at: What is the MINIMUM investment needed from State Parks in order to preserve the corridor now.

State Parks can provide that level of investment; a combination of local, private, and grant funds can fill in the rest over time.

* The trail doesn't need to be built to "Cadillac" levels. It is OK to begin with a basic level of service for the trail and work for higher, more expensive levels if and when funding becomes available.

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