Walking trail project takes step in right direction


Courtesy of Bob Harrington

Planned walking trail

Missouri Southern is nearing completion of plans years in the making for a walking trail that will connect the campus to the Northpark Mall.

Inspiration for the trail, from both the city of Joplin and Missouri Southern, originated from the large international student population, many of whom do not have vehicles. The lack of transportation highlighted a larger problem of student safety. Students found the most plausible route for on-foot travel was down Newman Road, then turning onto the railroad tracks prior to reaching Rangeline Road.

“Our international students keep increasing every year,” said Bob Harrington, director of the physical plant. “But, a lot of the students that stay on campus don’t have cars … this would provide a convenient bike trail, walking trail, to get to the mall or movie theater.”

The trail, which has a finalized professional rendering, will pass through the field behind parking lot 43 and across the creek at the edge of University property.

Up to this point a number of obstacles have arisen. Most notably, issues with the flood plain. At this point, both parties are ready to move forward.

“I have been very active with our city government for years before I even came out to Missouri Southern,” said Harrington. “I know all the people down at the city very well … I’ve been able to get people to work with us, just because we have had a long standing relationship. So that’s been a real help.”

The timetable for completion has not yet been finalized, but it is estimated that only three to four months will be needed once construction begins.

The trail is the beginning of a number of possibilities that have been discussed to this point. Spearheading a number of additions the city sees on the horizon.

“They [the city] have actually talked about, at some point and time, of even extending a trail along the creek itself out to where Duquesne is,” said Harrington. “At one point they talked about … creating, basically one of those parking areas. Where if you wanted to walk the trail, you would have a place where you could park.”