Great Rivers Greenway in the St Louis metro celebrates 20 years, 128 miles, and many trails to come | FOX 2

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The Great Rivers Greenway celebrates a landmark anniversary this weekend. The project–approved 20 years ago by taxpayers–is now a reality.

“These trails are the best thing going, I’ll tell you what,” said Paul Ohlman, a local bicyclist. “There’s something new every time you turn around.”

Growing over the last two decades, the greenways serve as outdoor spaces connecting the city for all.

“I can remember when there weren’t many trails, but there’s a lot of trails now, everywhere,” said Kevin Rauscher. “And more. Please, bring more trails.”

The plan brings 45 greenways to St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and the metro east, totaling 600 miles. The project actively working on 16 of the 45 greenways. Most recently, opening an extension from grant’s trail to the River Des Peres.

MoBikeFed comment: Great Rivers Greenway has been one of the best things to happen to the St. Louis metro area and to Missouri as a whole. The District has supported not only trails and greenways, but vitally important projects like the Bike St Louis plan (mostly on-street bicycle connectors), the Gateway Bike Plan--covering bicycle routes and trails for the entire region, the recent St Louis County Action Plan for Walking and Biking, a number of important bike/ped bridge projects over major rivers in the area, and much more.

And--don't forget the massive City-Arch-River project, which re-made the St Louis riverfront and the St Louis Arch grounds, making the whole area far more attractive, bicycleable, and walkable, and tied in the riverfront and Arch grounds directly to downtown St. Louis.

That project has been one of the most successful riverfront revitalization projects nationwide in recent years, and thanks to GRG's leadership and professionalism in managing the huge and complex project, it has gone forward successfully and with little or no controversy or scandal of the type that often plagues large multi-agency municipal projects.

And Great Rivers Greenway's work has statewide importance, not only because they are creating the major bicycling, walking, and trails links across the state's largest metro area, but also because those links are important parts of statewide connections like the Katy Trail, Bicycle Route 66, Adventure Cycling Association's Great Rivers Route, the Mississippi River Trail, and more.

In addition, GRG has shown the rest of Missouri and the Midwest how a strong, successful regional greenways district can make a huge positive difference in an entire region. That helps motivate cities, towns, and regional areas across the state and the Midwest to figure out how to put together their own regional trails and greenways system.

So congratulations and many thanks to the Great Rivers Greenway District, it's professional and effective staff and leadership, and the taxpayers in the St Louis metro area who have supported the District for 20 years.