CARTHAGE, Mo. —
After months of planning, cleaning and clearing, a new trail in Walnut Bottoms will be the site of an inaugural run today.
The run is being organized by Carthage resident Brady Beckham and other volunteers to introduce the trial to local athletes and raise money for future development.
The city of Carthage plans to use the site to develop more than five-miles of trail that eventually can be linked with other trails in the area. Funding for professional help in planning the trail is included in this year’s city budget, noted Alan Bull, city parks director.
He said city crews this week leveled and graveled a parking lot and did additional cleanup work. Volunteers organizing today’s event held several workdays to clear the 2.2-mile trail the runners will follow.
The 25-acre tract along Spring River near old Main Street and Java Road has been used as a dumping area, and officials hope developing the site for runners and bikers will stop that activity. Crews from the city and Jasper County cleared the equivalent of 19 dump trucks of trash off the property.
“There’s over three miles of bike trail in there now, but we’re going to get a consultant to come in and help us with the design work on extending it,” added Tom Short, city administrator.
“We’re talking with a company out of Arkansas that designs bike trails and they’re going to come up and take a look at it,” Bull said. “It will be a single-track trail that can be used for biking and running.”
The trail is among a series of Carthage park projects that are planned or under way. The city recently received a report on possible future park improvements produced by students from the Drury University School of Architecture, working with a committee of local volunteers.
Bull said he expects a new fountain can be installed in Kellogg Lake before June 1 to replace one removed two years ago when it stopped working.
Money for a new fountain has been raised by volunteers, primarily members of the Kellogg Lake Advisory Board, a group that works to promote and preserve Kellogg Lake Park. Bids were opened by the council’s public services committee last week and a purchase recommendation should go to the City Council when it meets on Tuesday.
“We got three bids and one of them was considerably less than the other two,” Bull said. “That’s the one the committee has recommended, but I’m trying to talk to another city that has used them,” Bull said.
All three of the fountains being considered will produce a lighted, multi-colored spray at levels taller than the earlier fountain, which had been in place for 25 years.
There is no charge to participate in the Walnut Bottoms run today, but donations will be accepted to be used for further trail development.