Trail extension OK’d



August 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iola officials learned Monday the city has qualified for more than $400,000 in a federal transportation grant to extend the Prairie Spirit Trail.
The grant would pay about $413,000, or 80 percent, of the estimated $516,000 necessary to extend the trail from Cofachique Park to Bruner Street at the north edge of Riverside Park. The city is responsible for about $103,000.
The grant was one of 18 Transportation Enhancement grants, totaling $14.8 billion, announced Monday by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Before the funds are dispensed — they will be made available in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 — they must be funded by the federal government, Assistant City Administrator Corey Schinstock said.
“But the state was so confident that it would receive the funding that KDOT went ahead and awarded the grants,” Schinstock said.
The city has no plans to extend the trail into the park because of the ongoing recertification of the park’s flood-control dikes, Schinstock explained.
The trail extends more than 50 miles from Iola to Ottawa, along the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad right of way.
As an aside, the grant and trail extension are not a part of the city’s ongoing negotiations to purchase privately owned land near the trail’s intersection with U.S. 54.
“That’s an entirely different matter,” Schinstock said.

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