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The City of Springfield and Ozark Greenways, Inc. will host a ceremonial groundbreaking at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7 for the construction of a new trail along the Jordan Creek in Springfield’s West Meadows.
The City received a $250,000 Recreational Trails program (RTP) grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to fund the 2,900 feet of hard-surface greenway trail, spanning from just west of Grant Avenue to Fort Avenue. A 20 percent required match will be provided through the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax Alternative Transportation Program.
The trail will be a part of the vast Ozarks Greenways’ network of 73 miles of greenways, and 81 miles of on-street bike routes.
“Trail networks connect and enhance communities and are a way to spur economic development, create a robust transportation network, and improve our quality of life,” says Ozark Greenways, Inc. Executive Director Mary Kromrey. “This project is a key next step in closing the gaps in the Jordan Creek Greenway trail. This trail will one day be over seven miles long and will provide connections to downtown, neighborhoods, parks, and countless other destinations.”
The West Meadows is a brownfields redevelopment area located roughly between Main Avenue and Fort Avenue, just north of College Street (Historic Route 66) in downtown Springfield. The area is ripe with history. Historic Fulbright Spring, the location of one of Springfield’s earliest settlements, was discovered on the site during extensive environmental cleanup. The area was also the location of a Union soldier encampment during the Civil War, and lies adjacent to historic Route 66.
The development of West Meadows is part of the community’s Jordan Valley Concept Master Plan to redevelop the Jordan Valley through downtown Springfield. Work has been completed in Jordan Valley since the early 2000s, with $2 million in EPA-funded environmental brownfields clean-ups and the development of downtown amenities like Jordan Valley Park, Jordan Valley Commons, Mediacom Ice Park, Hammons field, and greenway trail connections.
“What people know as Jordan Valley Park now is actually recognized as ‘East Meadows’ in the original concept plan,” explains City of Springfield Senior Planner and Brownfields Program Coordinator Olivia Hough. “West Meadows is an even larger block of open green space that carries the envisioned ‘central park’ concept through downtown.”
Previous improvements in West Meadows include the restoration of Jordan Creek to a natural wetland corridor, with stormwater, flood control and water quality improvements, native vegetation and trees. The area comprises 18 acres of open urban green space with greenway trails planned for transportation and recreation.
“With currently no street access or parking available for West Meadows, this trail is the first step in opening this site up for public use,” says Hough.
Wednesday’s ceremony is the culmination of a day-long visit by EPA Region 7 Director Jim Gulliford and other EPA officials to visit brownfields clean-up sites and environmental projects in Springfield.
“This celebration highlights exactly how local solutions and partnerships can lead to big changes through brownfield redevelopment and land revitalization,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Years of continued efforts and contributions are transforming what was once a railyard vulnerable to flooding into an urban greenway in the heart of Springfield. The whole team should be proud of what they’ve accomplished in Jordan Valley.”
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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected] or Brownfields Program Coordinator Olivia Hough at 864-1092 or [email protected].