COLUMBIA – Those in favor of keeping the Grindstone trail project got a boost from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission Wednesday night.
The seven commissioners present voted in favor of keeping $1.4 million devoted to the Grindstone trail, rather than shifting the funds to other trail projects.
Commissioner Sue Davis said she felt a commitment to the voters who supported the Grindstone project as a part of a 2010 park sales tax ballot initiative.
"This is what we promised the public and worked to promote to the public as a part of the sales tax," Davis said. "I feel a responsibility to the public."
During the Oct. 1 Columbia City Council meeting, the council advised city staff to present a plan to various advisory commissions; the plan is to defer the Grindstone trail project and shift $1.4 million to help pay for additional projects under GetAbout Columbia.
At the council meeting, Mayor Bob McDavid highlighted the potential to use the Grindstone funds to help finance a trail that would connect Old 63 to Rollins Avenue, providing a corridor from the Shepard neighborhood to MU.
Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe cited significant neighborhood opposition from the East Pointe subdivision to the Grindstone project in a recent interview and at the Oct. 1 council meeting.
Dan Harder, a resident of the East Pointe neighborhood, spoke in favor of the Grindstone trail and said he was caught unaware when opposition within the neighborhood began mounting during the summer.
"I guess I didn't understand the process, I thought the city was going to build the trail," Harder said at the commission meeting. "I voted on it, and the park tax won."
At the bicycle commission meeting, Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Mike Griggs and GetAbout Director Ted Curtis presented the concept of the funds switch. The commission discussed the fact that the Grindstone project was cited as a specific trail to be funded by the park sales tax renewed in 2010 and discussed the various GetAbout projects.
The plan will likely be discussed by other advisory commissions including the Environment and Energy, Parks and Recreation and Disabilities commissions next week.
Supervising editor is John Schneller.