7/13-City of Warsaw Receives National Trail Award

WARSAW RECEIVES 2ND. NATIONAL TRAIL AWARD 

City of Warsaw Receives National Trail Award Warsaw is one of ten communities to receive national recognition for its high-quality trails.

This is the second recognition received in 2018 for its trails.The Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) announced the winners for the 2018 Tom Petri Annual Achievement Awards in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds. The awards ceremony hosted by CRT member organizations was held in Washington, DC on June 5, 2018 at the U.S. House of Representatives Rayburn Office Building. Representing CRT were Marianne Fowler and Derrick Crandall, Co-Chairs, and Duane Taylor, Vice Chair and Awards Committee Chair.  The awards are part of annual efforts by national trails and outdoor recreation organizations to promote the importance of RTP funding to States across America. Award-winning trail projects and programs are funded through the Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration.

In the category of Community Linkage, Warsaw’s Drake Harbor Recreation Area was the national winner. In receiving this award, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers were recognized as an important partner in the many trail projects the City has completed in the 20 years of continuous effort.

Mayor Eddie Simons states, ”We are very grateful to receive this award.  The award from the Coalition for Recreation Trails, along with our earlier recognition this year from the National Complete Streets Coalition for being 1 of 12 best Complete Streets Policies in the nation for our trail efforts and complete street connections, illustrates to our residents and those that visit, that Warsaw is a special place in the nation for recreational opportunities.”

Since 2010, RTP funds have been used for a multi-phased trails system in Warsaw. The Warsaw Riverfront Trails Project was planned, designed, and constructed to provide an accessible pedestrian and bicycle connection between downtown Warsaw and the Drake Harbor Recreation Area. This recreation area contains multiple riverfront and interconnecting trails along the waterfront and the access road into the harbor.

This RTP project is an important section of a multi-phase plan that will ultimately provide over 20 miles of accessible trails and “complete streets” throughout the City and to surrounding recreational activity sites. Three miles of continuous trail has been constructed that extend from the Bledsoe Ferry Sports Complex, below Truman Lake, to downtown Warsaw. This trail system allows for pedestrians and bicyclists to safely travel from the sports complexes to downtown and beyond without crossing any roadways.

Due to Warsaw’s proximity to the Truman Dam, the Corps of Engineers owns a great deal of waterfront property in and around the town. They lease many of these properties to Warsaw for its recreational facilities. These include Warsaw’s golf course, baseball sports complex, mountain bike system, and historic Drake Harbor, all of which connect to the waterfront trail network.

“We have patiently planned and applied for funding for our trails in a phased approach”, stated City Administrator and Planner Randy Pogue. “This phased approach allowed us to not sacrifice quality over quantity.  Our goal has always been to provide a quality outdoor experience on a quality network of trails.”  Pogue further states, “We want to give special recognition to our City crews. They have been physically involved in construction of almost all the trails funded with RTP funds.  Their labor in all aspects of the construction allowed us to use the RTP funds strictly for construction material costs.”

The award gave further recognition in two areas of design.

Trail Activities

The Warsaw trail system was designed with a commitment to allow all users to enjoy the outdoors. This includes residents, out of town visitors, and those with disabilities. A new trailhead project was undertaken to encourage more trail users to access the network. The trailhead functions as a place to enable visitors to safely begin their adventure on foot, remove bicycles from their vehicles, and to encourage those with wheelchairs or strollers to try out the trails.

Since completion of this multi-phased project, Warsaw has seen increased numbers of visitors who arrive by boat, dock at the harbor and explore the downtown and riverfront amenities. Many of these visitors stay overnight. The City sees this trend continuing and is pursuing more boat slips in the harbor.

Planning and Funding

Warsaw developed its 2006 Trail Master Plan through a collaborative planning process between town staff, community members, and landscape architecture students from Drury University assisting CFS Engineers, Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri. Having an established plan and vision for the entire network made Warsaw more competitive for state and federal grants. The collaborative process got community members excited about the project and provided City staff with clear direction. Warsaw’s planning efforts also facilitated public and private investment near the trails for everything from historic building restoration projects, to new entertainment and recreation facilities.

While Recreational Trails Program grants have been essential to the project, funds from a wide variety of sources have been used on other phases. These include:

  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) recycle grant
  • Local Landmark Grant from the MDNR
  • Federal transportation grants including American Recovery and Revitalization Act Enhancement Funds and Transportation Alternatives funds
  • Federal Land Access Program
  • Land and Water Conservation Fun