Second city commission votes against shift of Grindstone trail funds

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 10:29 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The second citizen advisory panel in the past week voted unanimously against a council plan to shift money from the Grindstone trail to other projects.

Seven members of the Environment and Energy Commission voted against the plan at Tuesday's meeting. The plan was presented by Parks and Recreation Department Assistant Director Mike Griggs and GetAbout Columbia Director Ted Curtis. 

Commission chair and former councilman Karl Skala said he was concerned with the council shifting funds from a project that was included in the 2010 park sales tax, which was approved by voters. 

"A public referendum should not be subject to political expediency," Skala said.

Commissioner Alyce Turner also said she was concerned about scrapping a project that had been approved by voters. 

"I agree with the consensus of this commission that (the Grindstone trail) was what passed on the ballot," Turner said.

The commission also discussed the benefits of the Grindstone trail – mainly its potential to provide new connections to downtown and, in the future, to connect Battle High School to the trail system.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission voted unanimously against the plan last Wednesday. The Parks and Recreation Commission is expected to discuss the plan at its meeting Thursday night.

During the Oct. 1 City Council meeting, the council proposed to defer the Grindstone trail project and shift $1.4 million to help pay for additional projects under GetAbout Columbia. The council advised city staff to present the idea to various advisory commissions. 

At that council meeting, Mayor Bob McDavid said the Grindstone funds could help finance a trail that would connect Old 63 to Rollins Street, providing a corridor from the Shepard neighborhood to MU.

Sixth Ward councilwoman Barbara Hoppe supports the plan to shift funds to help pay for the Shepard to Rollins trail.

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu

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