The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 11, 2013

Pittsburg selected to receive funding for pedestrian-bike trail extension

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The city of Pittsburg has been awarded $730,000 by the Kansas Department of Transportation to expand an existing pedestrian and biking trail.

The grant was one of 35 announced Tuesday by KDOT. Worth $17.9 million, the grants are made possible through the federally funded Transportation Enhancement Program.

According to KDOT spokesman Steve Swartz, the department received 91 applications from local units of government requesting more than $63 million. Pittsburg’s grant requires a 20 percent match by the city, which will be provided via an as-yet unnamed source of private funding.

“We had really wanted an east-west connector trail, and wanted something that would connect to existing sidewalks near Pittsburg High School and also to the Watco trail near Pittsburg Middle School,” said Troy Graham, the city’s assistant director of public works.

The trail, to be paved, will begin at the Watco trail head at 11th Street and Broadway, and will run east along Larry Garman Boulevard south of Hutchinson Stadium.

It will continue east to Michigan Street, then turn south to Seventh Street. There, it will cross the railroad tracks and turn south on Short Street, which leads to Schlanger Park. The trail will continue through the park to its south boundary, where it will end.

Graham said the approximately one-mile trail will be lighted and will have signs and some amenities, including benches and new tree plantings in vacant lots east of the Knights of Columbus building being constructed at 12th and Joplin streets.

Funding also will pay for a hybrid pedestrian beacon at the 11th Street and Broadway trail crossing.

Graham said KDOT advised that Pittsburg likely can apply for another round of grant funding next year to extend the trail east all the way to the high school.

“That extension would stay on the north side of Fourth Street and go east to Rouse, then cross at the intersection to the south side of Fourth Street and go on east to the high school,” Graham said. “We’re pretty sure we could get funding for that.”

The timeline for construction of the new trail has not yet been announced, but it likely won’t start until 2014, Graham said.

Program funding

THE TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM funds projects for pedestrians and bicyclists; acquisition of scenic or historical easements and sites; scenic or historical highway programs; landscaping and scenic beautification; historic preservation and rehabilitation; conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails; removal of outdoor advertising; archaeological planning and research; and establishment of transportation museums.