- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - Pittsburg officials will decide next week whether to accept a state transportation department grant worth more than $650,000 to build a proposed trail that has drawn opposition.

Some homeowners who live near the trail’s planned location at South Rouse Street have placed signs in their yards that say: “Vote no on trail,” The Joplin Globe reported (https://bit.ly/1r15wxP ).

The Pittsburg City Commission will decide Tuesday whether it will take the $656,000 grant. The project would also be funded by about $250,000 in private donations.

One Pinnacle Lane homeowner, whose property would not be crossed by the trail, called the project “frivolous” during a July 22 city commission meeting.

“Is it worth it to you to disrupt the people who lived there for 20 years so you can have a trail when there’s a trail six blocks away? Most people moved out there because they don’t want to be connected,” Maggie Ryan said.

A Kansas transportation department official said it would be unusual if the city declined the grant. Pittsburg was one of 20 chosen to receive it.

“Very rarely - I can count on one finger, or possibly two - in my history in the program have we had a city decline an award,” said Joel Skelley, the transportation department’s statewide multimodal planner. “In those instances, it was that they found that the requirements they had to follow as part of a project weren’t going to meet the intent they were hoping.”

The transportation department said it received $50 million worth of requests for grants from the transportation alternatives program. The department has about $11 million in available funding for that program.

A group of Pittsburg residents approached the city last summer about building a trail on the street to make it safer for those who walk and ride bicycles there. The road is bordered by drainage ditches.


Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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