MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2019
Jackson County celebrated the Grand Opening of the Rock Island Trail with a ribbon cutting ceremony June 1 at the 98th Street Trailhead.
The opening marks the completion of the first phase of the Rock Island Shared Use Path. The trail is 6.5 miles long, beginning at Brickyard Road in Kansas City and ending at Jefferson Street in Lee’s Summit. There are two official trailheads, 98th street Trailhead (12600 E 98th Street KCMO 64138) and Hartman Park (700 SW Pryor Rd, Lee's Summit, MO 64081).
Construction on Phase Two is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and should take approximately a year and a half. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2020 or early 2021. Phase two will take the Rock Island Trail all the way to the Truman Sports Complex. This phase will have three trailheads: Truman Sports Complex, Downtown Raytown and Woodson Road in Raytown. Phase Two is 7.1 miles long and when done, will create a 13.5 mile trail on the Rock Island Corridor.
County Executive Frank White, Jr., said, “The completion of the first phase of the project signifies our commitment to bring communities together. For us to explore the people, places and thing that make Jackson County a great place to live, work and play.”
“With this trail, we are investing in the health and welfare of the community. We are spurring economic development,” he said. “With this trail, we will attract more recreational enthusiasts from across the country to Jackson County.”
Kansas City Area Transit Authority CEO Robbie Makinen said the Rock Island Corridor project, “Brings huge opportunities for trails as well as economic development but, in the end it is all about the community and the people of the community.”
Legislative Chairman Theresa Galvin said the first time she walked the trail she could not have imagined it would turn out so well.
“I was taken by the beauty of land and of the historic Vale Tunnel. However, the trail was overgrown with weeds and brush, there was trash dumped everywhere and the bridge! Oh my goodness if you could have seen the condition of the bridge. I walked the trail again a couple of months ago with my right hand, Jane. The transformation is just miraculous,” she said.
“This is another wonderful addition to Jackson County Parks + Rec. There are so many people that have worked tirelessly to transform this trail into a peaceful place where the families of Jackson County can come to walk, bike or just spend some quality time together,” Galvin said.
Rock Island Manager Matt Davis thanked all of those who were involved with the project.
“I was hired by Jackson County to manage this project as part of a team three years ago. During that time there have been many changes, many challenges but also a lot of progress. This project has been a labor of love as well as an incredible learning experience for me, and I am very honored to be a part of it all,” he said.