City officials are working to bridge the gap between the Seven Oaks Neighborhood and Hinkson Creek Trail.
An ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council this month will create a trail extending about 56 feet to connect the neighborhood to the Hinkson Trail, which connects Grindstone Park to the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail.
As it stands, residents of Seven Oaks access the trail from the dead end of UMC Drive, navigating muddy ground and a small drainage ditch that usually contains standing water.
Some tree stumps and a few strategically placed 2-by-4-inch planks are all that prevent trail-crossers from getting soaked in the ditch.
The trail construction will include a small bridge, similar to one in Westwinds Park, over the ditch as well as landscaping and boulders along the trail.
Neighborhood association representatives have volunteered to pay for the $4,050 worth of materials needed for construction, which is one of the reasons the Parks and Recreation Department was eager to help construct the trail, parks planner Toney Lowery said.
The department will supply the necessary labor at an estimated cost of $8,575.
“It’s a pretty simple job, basically just a bridge across a small, wet area,” Lowery said. “It will be a nice, safer way.”
Because the trail will cut through MU property, a use agreement was negotiated with the university.
It was approved by the council on March 17. The city has since worked with Seven Oaks representatives on the trail’s planning.
Barbara Laemmli, who lives on UMC Drive near the Hinkson Trail, is excited about the project. She said she and her husband have been pushing for the bridge since they moved to the neighborhood five years ago.
“It’s quite amazing how many people use (the Hinkson Trail),” she said. “People walk and bicycle to work — it’s used by families and their kids.”
Laemmli added that no one in the neighborhood opposed the bridge.