Fourth Ward residents voice concerns about trails at meeting

Saturday, July 19, 2008 | 6:09 p.m. CDT; updated 11:45 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — At Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade’s bi-monthly citizen office hours, held Saturday at the Rendezvous cafe, about 12 residents who would be affected by two proposed trials from GetAbout Columbia showed up over the span of almost two hours to voice their concerns.

The south Garth Avenue connector and the east-side connection at Bluffdale Drive were both the center of conversation. Many people were surprised to hear of an announced “special meeting” for the Columbia City Council on July 22. According to, the city will “determine priorities for GetAbout Columbia Infrastructure Projects” at the meeting and decide which projects will be funded.

At a previous neighborhood meeting called by Wade, which took place June 27 at the Daniel Boone Library, about 35 residents decided to form a committee of six representatives to gather more information about the trails. Now the selected committee is looking for alternative trial options to propose to the city and GetAbout Columbia, but they won’t be ready in time for the special meeting. Residents have asked Wade to try to request more time before the council chooses which projects to fund.

The committee hopes to find paths that wouldn’t go directly through the wooded areas in their neighborhood, which they fear will disturb the wildlife — or require purchase of private property from residents — as the current Garth trail proposal does.

Chip Cooper, an original founder of the PedNet coalition and a resident of the affected area, was present at the meeting said he is happy to see the residents trying to take an active role in the GetAbout Columbia project. He said he regrets that the special meeting was brought about so suddenly because it looks like the selected committee is making good progress and headed in a productive direction.

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