City of Warsaw MO awarded $25 million RAISE Grant to take Complete Streets, trails to entire city

TIGER Grants were first awarded in 2009.  That very year, the City of Warsaw, Missouri, applied for a major grant, designed to expand the city's renowned trail system, but even more - to connect the entire city to the trails and to major destinations like parks and shopping, via bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly Complete Streets.

They didn't get it.

Literally every funding round since 2009, Warsaw - population 2231 - led by City Manager Randy Pogue and a team of citizens, staff, and elected officials, has resubmitted and refined its grant application.

Every year, the same result - no grant funding.

Over the years, the program, as President and Congressional leaders changes, the program was renamed BUILD, and now RAISE. 

But the purpose has always been the same - to provide significant transportation investment to communties and regions that have a vision for rebuilding their transportation system in a transformative way.

TIGER, BUILD, and RAISE Grants have always been very friendly and welcoming to proposals that bridge different parts of the community and different users - those who walk, use public transit, bicycle, have different levels of ability and disability, and so on.

That is one reason that MoBikeFed and our allies across Missouri and across the U.S. have worked so hard to build political and community support for this important grant program. This work has paid off as leaders of all administrations and both major political parties have found reasons to provide major support and grant funding for the program over the past fourteen years.

Finally, this month, Warsaw's fourteen years of work on its TIGER-BUILD-RAISE Grant applications - and several decades of work building Warsaw into one of the very best small towns for bicycling, walking, and trails in the country - paid off as Senator Eric Schmitt informed the city that it was to be the recipient of a $24,997,004 RAISE grant.

How Warsaw helped build up an entire region and an entire state to be more bicycle and pedestrian friendly - and how MoBikeFed and many allies helped

MoBikeFed is very pleased to be able to say that we have played an active role in assisting Warsaw as it as developed its plans and worked towards the grant funding.  Every year the city has applied for the grant funding, MoBikeFed has written a detailed letter of support for the grant (a service MoBikeFed provides for communities and agencies across the state - just contact us and ask!).

In a recent letter of support, we wrote:

Warsaw is setting the gold standard for small town trails development, connectivity for the public, and safety, with an awareness of alternative forms of transportation.  Because of their leadership and forward thinking in this area, they are inspiring many similar rural towns across Missouri to follow their example.

Building the Butterfield Stage Experience, U.S. Bicycle Route 51, the Rock Island Trail, and many connecting bicycle routes through Warsaw and the surrounding region

This isn't just blowing smoke: Warsaw has been at the center of the effort to create and promote the Butterfield Stage Experience Bicycle Route - now stretching for almost 500 miles from Jefferson City, MO, to Fort Smith AR - and passing right through the heart of Warsaw on its way.

That grew out of a regional trails planning effort in which Warsaw played a prominent role.  And plans to extend U.S. Bicycle Route 51 in Missouri from Northwest Arkansas to Joplin, Springfield, Warsaw, Sedalia, Knob Noster, Warrensburg, Lexington, and points north to the Iowa border also very much grew out of those regional trail discussions.

Warsaw's leadership has also led to a statewide effort to not only develop the next 159 miles of the Rock Island Trail State Park - which passes just north of Warsaw - but also to make a major effort to connect that proposed trail to communities 10-50 miles from the trail all across the state.

The 250-mile Butterfield Stage Experience Bicycle Route runs thru Warsaw
The 250-mile Butterfield Stage Experience Bicycle Route runs directly through Warsaw on its way from Jefferson City to Springfield. In recent news, NW Arkansas has announced the continuation of the route almost another 250 miles to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Projects like the Butterfield Stage Local Connectors - which link the Katy, Rock Island, and Butterfield Stage routes - and the Central Missouri Katy-Rock Island Connectors came directly out of these efforts.

Cities like Warsaw are not just building themselves up - they are making a deliberate effort to raise up the quality of life in entire regions and, indeed, across the entire state.  Those efforts match up with MoBikeFed's Vision for Missouri, and we are very pleased to be able to support these efforts in the Warsaw region and across Missouri.

What will Warsaw's RAISE Grant build?  How will it transform the city?

What is Warsaw going to do that that funding?  How is it going to transform the community?

Here are the details as laid out by the City's press release:

Senator Eric Schmidtt has informed the City of Warsaw that the community has received a $24,997,004 RAISE grant. The strength of this grant application is the communities 25-year continuous effort to improve its Drake Harbor Water front park, the revitalized downtown, and combining this with a detailed planning process to develop its three primary roadways into Complete Streets. 

The grant will provide the funds to link the three roadways, through the downtown, to the waterfront trails with expansion of one of the trails. A unique feature is a stormwater mitigation area on the Town Branch that will also incorporate a park area known as Light Plant Park. Warsaw sits on the 90-mile marker of the Lake of the Ozarks and is just one mile downstream ofTruman Dam and Reservoir.

Connecting to U.S. Route 65 (US 65) and Missouri Route 7 (Route 7) in three locations, the roadway segments included in the project span across the city to complete two east-west routes and one north-south route. These improvements will facilitate visitor traffic coming into the city from the major highways as well as local circulation, creating safe links to neighborhoods, schools, retail areas, and recreation and nature nodes. The improvements also extend Warsaw’s natural water amenities from the Marina District into the community by protecting and expanding on naturalwetland areas.

The attached map details the project extents and connecting infrastructure.

The project is intended to improve safety and livability in the community by reconstructing the roadways to accommodate parking, bicycles, ADA-compliant sidewalks, curbing, and pavement striping. Our Complete Streets approach will address current shortcomings in disability access, safe routes to school, and citizen’s health and recreation benefits by providing bike and pedestrian access to the City’s trail system along the waterfront. The current ditch-stormwater collection system will be replaced with integrated green stormwater infrastructure and an enclosed storm sewer system to mitigate street flooding and promote environmental sustainability. Intersection improvements, new drive approaches, and center turn lanes where feasible will address access and intersection safety challenges. For detailed information goto

The following is a detailed description of the improvements.

Main Street

The Butterfield Regional Connector routes meld the Butterfield, Katy
The Butterfield Regional Connector routes meld the Butterfield, Katy, and Rock Island Trails - here shown centered on the Warsaw area.

Main Street serves as the key connecting roadway from the Marina District to the surrounding highways, with the proposed improvements extending from Route 7 to US 65. Main Street parallels the waterfront for the entirety of the city, making it the primary route for access to the Lake of the Ozarks/Osage River, Drake Harbor, Steamboat Landing, and the trail system. Improving connections to Jackson and Commercial Streets will provide two alternative access routes from both highways to the Marina District, lightening the traffic burden on Main Street. Main Street includes 1.46 miles of Complete Street improvements including a widened street section to facilitate sidewalks, bike lanes, and a center turn lane. It also features the replacement of a 5-legged intersection at Jackson Street with a roundabout. Permeable paver parking lanes are included through portions of the downtown to provide on-street parking while also sustainably managing stormwater. Additionally, the previously completed section of this roadway from Seminary Street to State Street will receive new crosswalks and the asphalt will be milled and overlaid.

Jackson Street

Jackson Street serves as another primary east-west route through Warsaw and as the through connection to the expanding residential development in the northwest portion of the City. Jackson Street will provide enhanced access to all other segments of the project. Improvements extend from the proposed Main-Jackson Street roundabout to Kennedy Drive. This will connect new residential development to the Marina District. Jackson Street improvements include 1.01 miles of Complete Streets with sidewalks, bike lanes, and permeable paver parking areas providing residents living along this highly traveled roadway additional on-street parking.

Commercial Street

Commercial Street is the main north-south route that extends through the entirety of Warsaw. The improvements expand from Harrison Street to north of Truman Dam Access Road, providing a connection between the two largest retail districts in the City. Commercial Street also intersects the Jackson and Main Street improvements and provides direct connection to the proposed stormwater mitigation wetland. Commercial Street consists of 2.13 miles of Complete Street improvements including new sidewalks, bike lanes, and green stormwater infrastructure planters providing stormwater management, additional green space, and enhanced safety buffers between the roadway/bike lanes and the pedestrian areas. A center turn lane will be added to the Commercial-Polk Street intersection as well.

Osage Trail Extension
Eddie Simons (Warsaw Mayor), Randy Pogue (Warsaw City Administrator), Mac Vorce.
Eddie Simons (Warsaw Mayor), Randy Pogue (Warsaw City Administrator), Mac Vorce (Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, recently retired), and Jessica Kendall (City Clerk) are four of the key players in Warsaw's long-term plan to improve the city's quality of life and economy through regional trails, bicycling, walking, Complete Streets, and related initiatives. Here they pose with Missouri Tourism Director Ward Franz as the city received a major tourism award. (Photo credit: Sedalia Democrat)

Warsaw’s existing trail system provides both recreational opportunities for tourists and alternate pathways for residents to move around the city. The existing Osage Trail begins downtown at the Steamboat Landing boardwalk, follows Levee Road along the Osage River, and dead ends at US 65. The proposed boardwalk extension would then pick up at US 65 and expand to the City of Warsaw Industrial Park, just north of where Main Street transitions into the US 65 Outer Road. This will extend the trail an additional 0.53 miles andcreate a continuous connected loop for active transportation users.

Stormwater Mitigation Wetland

As part of the stormwater management, environmental protection, and climate change mitigation strategy for the roadway improvements, a stormwater mitigation wetland is included along the existing Town Branch Creek corridor, located near the Jackson-Commercial Street intersection. This feature not only manages stormwater runoff generated from the roadway projects, but provides numerous community, water quality, and other environmental benefits by protecting and enhancing the natural riparian and wetland habitat along the existing creek. The stormwater mitigation wetland will include water features, native plantings, and park-like amenities such as pathways, LED lighting, and open space.

The attached map outlines the project extents and connecting infrastructure.

This grant is as major opportunity and a great day for Warsaw, and for Benton County, and for the Kaysinger Basin Region, and for Missouri.

Making bicycling, walking,trails, and Complete Streets work for all of Missouri

One thing we are seeing, very clearly, in Missouri is that bicycling, walking, and trails are not just for big cities - as important and vital as those major metros are to the state. 

But nearly half of Missouri's population lives in rural/outstate areas and small "micropolitan" outposts. Add exurbs and suburbs into the equation, and you're looking at the vast majority of Missouri's population.

We don't want to take anything away from the major strides Missouri's bigger cities have made in becoming friendlier and safer for bicycling and walking over the past couple of decades.

But it is clear that, if we are to reach the majority of Missourians, we must find a way to make this work in small towns, rural areas, small micropolitan areas like Joplin, Kirksville, Hannibal, and Cape Girardeau, exurbs, and suburbs - as well as our biggest cities.

Communities like Warsaw are showing the way - and helping improve the quality of life for everyone across the state as they do so.

The Mid-Missouri Katy-Rock Island Connectors provide bicycleable routes
The Mid-Missouri Katy-Rock Island Connectors provide bicycleable routes connecting dozens of communities across mid-Missouri


One of the top goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri is building a world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system all across Missouri - in the biggest cities, and small hamlets, and everywhere in between.  Working with communities like Warsaw to help build on their success and leverage their vision into changes the benefit entire regions and the entire state, is one way MoBikeFed helps reach that goal.

Your membership and generous financial contributions help turn our Vision into reality--building the statewide public support for bicycling, walking, trails, Complete Streets projects, and the funding needed to make them happen.

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