Leaders call for "Complete Katy Trail" from St. Louis to Kansas City

[Update 20 April 2006: In less than two minutes, you can ask Ameren & the DNR to work together to make the Katy Connection happen.]

At a meeting held at Raytown City Hall, just a few hundred feet from the unused Rock Island Railroad line, community leaders and government officials called for the completion of the Katy Trail--making a connection from the current Katy Trail to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The best possibility for a connecting link, according to Stephen Rhoades, MetroGreen coordinator, is along the unused Rock Island Railroad line. The line runs from the stadium complex through eastern Kansas City, Raytown, Lee's Summit, and Pleasant Hill. It meets the current Katy Trail at Windsor.

"The Katy Trail Connection would become a premier attraction for the entire Kansas City region," said Missouri Bicycle Federation President Brent Hugh. "Imagine being able to hop on your bike and ride from KC's Liberty Memorial to the St. Louis arch."

Department of Natural Resources officials indicated that the Katy Trail is Missouri's most popular state park. The trail has 300,000-500,000 visitors every year from all 50 states. Connecting Kansas City to the trail could increase ridership dramatically.

The Katy Trail Connection has support from officials in Kansas City, MO, Raytown, Lee's Summit, Pleasant Hill, the Mid-America Regional Council, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, as well as citizen groups such as the Missouri Bicycle Federation and the Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation.

But one message came out loud and clear from the meeting: "We need to get the word out about the Katy Trail Connection," said Hugh. "People do not yet realize the huge impact this could have on the entire metropolitan area and the entire state."

Previous efforts to negotiate a route for the Katy Trail Connection have failed, partly because public interest has not been aroused enough to make the negotiations a continuing high priority for public officials.

The key section of the of the Katy Trail Connection is part of the Rock Island line that is owned by AmerenUE. Negotiations between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Ameren officials will be crucial to the success of the Katy Trail Connection.

Union Pacific owns the section of the Rock Island line from Pleasant Hill to the stadium complex. Though "rails with trails" projects have proven safe and successfully in other areas of the country, Union Pacific officials have not been willing to even discuss the using this idea on their section of the Rock Island line.

Resources:
  • A map of the proposed Katy Trail Connection on the Rock Island Railroad

  • Contact:
    The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is taking the lead in the negotiations with the AmerenUE, which owns the crucial section of the Rock Island line. DNR needs to hear from citizens who support the Katy Trail Connection.
    Email: oac@dnr.mo.gov

    Mail:
    Doyle Childers, director
    Department of Natural Resources
    P. O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102