The proposed trail, announced in early February, would connect the campus to a movie theater parking lot that is part of the Northpark Mall complex. The trail as envisioned would be an asphalt trail 10 feet wide and would accommodate both foot and bicycle traffic. A pedestrian bridge, estimated to be 200 feet long, would cross Turkey Creek under the present scenario.
The City of Joplin will oversee the construction of the trail and pedestrian bridge crossing Turkey Creek. Missouri Southern will install lighting for the 2000-foot long trail. The trail is being funded through the Federal Highway Administration Transportation Enhancement Grant Program provided to the City of Joplin.
“We’re very pleased that this trail is getting closer to becoming a reality,” said Rob Yust, Vice President for Business Affairs at Missouri Southern. “It would be not only part of our master plan but a major improvement for our students. This is especially true for many of our Residence Hall students who do not have automobiles.”
The effort to construct the trail marks another effort by the city to connect Missouri Southern students to the community. Joplin’s Sunshine Lamp Trolley makes regular stops on campus.
“Missouri Southern is a great asset in our community,” said Sam Anselm, Assistant City Manager. “Not only are they the leaders in education, but they are a strong community partner. The City is pleased to be working with them on this trail to provide an alternative to motor vehicles in reaching various destinations within Joplin. Trails allow an interconnectivity for people to easily move throughout Joplin, and it’s great to have this resource in the northeastern part of our City.”
Once complete, the walking route between Missouri Southern and the Northpark Mall would be much shorter and more convenient for students going to this retail district.
Trail construction is estimated at approximately $347,000, with the Transportation Enhancement Grant providing 80 percent of the funding for the project. The City of Joplin will pay the remaining 20 percent, or $72,000 for the trail.
Joplin officials say the City has an extensive plan for a trail system that continues to be developed in Joplin in various stages. The new trail would serve as a component of that system.