Parks Boosters Want to Pump Up Proposed Rock Island Trail with Private Money

By on April 25, 2019

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  The Missouri House on Tuesday (April 16) endorsed the creation of a private endowment that would help fund a proposed 144-mile bike trail across the state.

Ameren and the Department of Natural Resources are negotiating the donation of a former rail line that an Ameren subsidiary owns, but the DNR has raised concerns about the cost of running what would be known as the Rock Island Trail.

The former rail line, stretching from Beaufort in Franklin County to Windsor in western Missouri, would resemble the Katy Trail, another former rail line popular with hikers and cyclists. The two trails would meet at Windsor.

A voter-approved sales tax funds state parks, and those resources are already spread thin, said Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles, whose district would include the trail. He said the private money would help offset costs to the state.

“We don’t want to put any further strain on the sales tax that goes to state parks,” he said. “We want to maintain the ones (parks) that we have. This provides us a little bit of control with that.”

Wood said communities in his area are hoping to scoop up tourism revenue that would likely come with the addition of a new state park.

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