Cape La Croix Trail extension will improve connections, officials say

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
This pedestrian bridge leads to a soccer field at Shawnee Park where the city's walking trail ends. The city plans to extend the trail to West End Boulevard. (BOB MILLER)

Suggest to Brock Davis that Cape La Croix Trail is well-used and he'll chuckle.

"Well used? That's not even close," said Davis, Cape Girardeau's parks division manager. "You will see people on that trail every single day, whether it's raining, snowing or whatever. In nice weather, there are thousands of people that use it on a weekend."

And the trail is about to get bigger.

Construction of the newest leg of Cape Girardeau's system of hiking and biking trails is to get underway next year, with state and local funding in pay for 2,100 feet of new trails near Shawnee Sports Complex. The city is poised to enter into a program agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for the $200,000 project, most of which will be paid for by the state.

The project would have two segments to improve the connections between the area along West End Boulevard near the sports complex and the rest of the city, said Ken Eftink, assistant city manager and director of development services.

It's not the length of the new trails that will matter, Eftink said, but where it will be located.

The main segment of new 8-foot-wide trail would run along West End Boulevard from Linden Street and extend south to snake through the soccer fields and connect with the pedestrian bridge where the trail currently ends, Eftink said. The second segment will be the connection from the trail to Shawnee Park ball fields near the Southeast Missouri Hospital pavilion, he said.

"The focus of the enhancement grant is really get people from point A to point B," Eftink said. "Our overall goal is to provide a loop of the city. The trail opens up access to Arena Park, the Aquatics Center, Osage Centre and now up to North County Park," Eftink said.

Connecting the residential areas on the south side of the city has long been an identified need in the community since Highway 74 was constructed, Eftink said. The city updated its Comprehensive Plan in late 2007, and that need was addressed in the plan. Eftink pointed out that residents on the city's south side may rely more heavily on alternative modes of transportation.

The trail projects are part of a larger plan to improve access, Eftink said. As part of Transportation Trust Fund 4, the city also has plans to construct sidewalks along West End Boulevard from Jefferson Avenue to Linden Street.

"It's dangerous right now to walk along West End," Eftink said. "When the trail project is finished and we get sidewalks in, it should be safer for people to get around."

The state will provide $160,972 for the project, which is about 80 percent, compared to the city's local match of $40,243. The Cape Girardeau City Council is scheduled to approve the partnership at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Eftink said he hopes the work can begin by next summer and be completed by the end of the year.

"This project really just ties a lot of the pieces together," Eftink said.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Shawnee Sports Complex, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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