MSSU responsible for trail security

An aerial photo of Southerns campus shows the route the recently announced walking trail will take from MSSU to Northpark Mall

An aerial photo of Southern’s campus shows the route the recently announced walking trail will take from MSSU to Northpark Mall

Missouri Southern and the city of Joplin announced Monday that a trail will be built that will connect Southern students to the Northpark Mall.

The trail is estimated to cost $347,000. Eighty percent of that amount will be funded by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration and 20 percent by the city of Joplin.

“With nearly 5,400 students and more than 500 employees, we believe physically connecting our campus to this area’s business community will only strengthen the relationship between the University and the city,” MSSU President Bruce Speck said.

The trail will be made of asphalt at 10 feet wide stretching the distance of 2,000 feet. It will accommodate both foot and bicycle traffic.

A bridge will also be built over Turkey Creek.

“We have been applying for this grant for a few years now,” Physical Plant Director Bob Harrington said. “We partnered with the city of Joplin to help make this happen and it worked.”

The city of Joplin will oversee the construction of the trail and bridge and will partner with Southern to hire the architect and outside contractor.

Southern will pay for lighting on the trail. Harrington said the University is exploring the option of solar lights that will not need electricity.

“It’s a very wide, open space without a lot of trees and there will be lights,” Harrington said. “It will be a safe way for students to travel into the city.”

According to Harrington, Southern’s police department will provide security and will be responsible for patrolling the trail to ensure student safety.

The trail is being built on a flood plain that poses no issues for the construction of the trail but ensures that no future building plans will ever disrupt it.

“We will begin construction of the project this summer,” Harrington said. “It should be finished this October or November.”  

Harrington says he is excited for the grant and to work with the city of Joplin.