Only a handful of residents turned up at City Hall Friday for the second of two meetings last week in connection with a pair of proposed pedestrian trails that will ultimately connect Beal Park on the east side of Maryville with Northwest Missouri State University.
The first trail is to extend a little more than a half mile and run west from North Davis Street along Seventh and Ninth with a short dogleg up South Main.
The second path, the topic of Friday's meeting, will comprise about eight-tenths of a mile and, with an existing north-south trail bordering Davis, form a large rectangle bounded by Laura Street across from the park and east-west arms along Seventh Street to the north and Fourth Street to the south.
The Seventh Street leg will connect with the first trail at Davis, creating a continuous paved hiking/biking path between the park and the Northwest campus.
Known as the Beal Park Trail, the new portion of the city's growing pedestrian network is to run along the west side of Laura Street, the north side of Fourth Street and the south side Seventh Street to Water Street, where a signed crosswalk will direct pedestrians to the opposite curb.
A second extended west/east trail will be formed where the Fourth Street leg connects with Davis, a path already linked to a completed trail running down Torrance to Walnut.
Construction of both trails, which are being paid for with a combination of municipal funds and Missouri Department of Transportation grants, is tentatively scheduled for next summer.
Residents who attended Friday's public meeting posed few objections to the Beal Park Trail, which in addition to helping create a safe pedestrian route to campus will also serve students attending St. Gregory's School and Eugene Field Elementary School.
However, as at the first meeting on Tuesday, homeowners did express reservations about snow removal and the planned felling a several large trees along both routes.
Bob Westfall, who lives at 703 E. Fourth and serves as North District Nodaway County commissioner, said he feared older residents would be unable to shovel snow over 30-inch retaining walls planned along some stretches of the path.
Questions also came up about just who is responsible for removing snow from the trails, which City Manager Greg McDanel said, as a matter of statute, are considered sidewalks.
In Maryville, residents are responsible for removing snow from sidewalks that pass in front of their homes. Unofficially, however, the city has acknowledged that the trail system is an exception and has, in the past, cleared snow from completed sections.
But the main priority for city crews after a winter storm is streets, Public Works Director C.E. Goodall said Friday, meaning that trails are cleared last or not at all.
Page 2 of 2 - As for trees, McDanel said the city would seek to replace any that have to be cut down during trail construction in an effort to maintain Maryville's Tree City USA status. Should individuals living along the trail request it, replacement trees could be planted on private property at no expense to the homeowner.