Work is continuing along the banks of the Missouri River to extend the city’s most prominent walking path a mile north of town.
Assistant City Manager Justin Pregont estimates that the Riverfront Trail extension will be complete within a handful of months, sometime before the start of winter. Project general contractor Julius Kaaz Construction of Leavenworth will commence concrete pours on Wednesday to begin composing the 10-foot wide path from the Veterans Memorial Park from which it follows the course of River Road. At present, the trial terminates near the southern City of Atchison boat dock.
“We began to renovate the riverfront in the early 2000s ... the theory behind this project was just to expand on something that’s working really well,” Pregont said.
The trail project has seen a significant amount of public interest and continues a series of projects such as the recent Second Street Corridor sidewalk renovation that connects downtown Atchison to Benedictine College.
Pregont adopts the philosophy that it is an overriding priority for any municipality to develop the land near a major body of water as much as possible, and the Riverfront Trail is part and parcel of preparing what is effectively the face of Atchison for the future.
“Personally, for me, it’s just a piece of the puzzle,” he said. “If you want to build a more desirable puzzle you have to keep building on all of these things or you risk falling behind.”
Pregont thanked the Atchison Riverfront Development Foundation, which supplied $80,000 toward the project cost.
“This opportunity would not have presented without that group forming and putting a huge amount of resources into making the original Riverfront project happen and these new resources into the expanded trail project,” he said. “So, I think most credit goes to the foundation.”
A full interview with Pregont and some looks at the work in progress along the riverfront can be viewed at www.atchisonglobenow.com. For more information and to provide feedback on the ongoing project, which is largely funded through a combination of $330,000 in federal and local grant money, call City Hall at 913-367-5500.