(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Years of controversy came to a conclusion Monday night over the Chicago Western Branch Trail in the Northside of St. Joseph.
The city council voted to move forward with the plan with changes to the route. Area residents at the meeting voiced their opinions on the project, wanting the trail to move to a separate location altogether.
"I wish they'd drop the whole thing," said Pat Jones who lives across the street from the proposed trail. "I don't think we need it."
The original layout of the trail cut through city-owned land and private property, causing many complaints in the area. After many discussions, the city changed the route to city-specific land, causing the state to drop federal funding worth $200,000 that was originally promised.
"We talked back and forth with MoDot, and MoDot finally and ultimately decided that when we applied for this grant, we were going to go from Cook Road to Blackwell Road, now we can't go that far and it doesn't fulfill the grant application that we filled out," said Brady McKinley of Public Works and Transportation. "So we're not going to get that money."
Only $84,000 remained for the project through local CIP funding. The council discussed canceling the project and relocating the money to a different project, but council members agreed they should finish what they started and use the money they still had.
Pat Jones and other neighbors disagreed and wanted to cancel the project as a whole. "I think they should have used the money for another trail, at another site. It's not a good idea to have it up in that area," Jones added.
The city will modify the plans and shorten the route of the trail staying strictly on city property.
McKinley said "We're going to end just before it crosses Blacksnake Creek. So it'll be on the southside of Blacksnake Creek. There's an old railroad bridge we were going to rehab and continue the trail north (to Blackwell) but that will not be done with this project. We'll just stop short of that old railroad bridge, and that'll be the end of the trail there."
The city hopes to begin the project in two months.