MKT trailheads receive donation for improvements

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia allocated a $15,000 donation to the Parks and Recreation Department for improvements at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden and Forum Nature Area trail heads on Monday.

“As the high intensity use the trail has got, the trail should have better areas to sit and welcome people into Columbia. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the trail.,” Matt Boehner, Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Senior Park Planner, said.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows worked with the Parks and Recreation Department to raise the donation for the improvements.

“You’re going to see the color concrete paver. We’re actually going to be using some leftover paver from the last project, and the color concrete is going to really draw your attention to the space at the MLK a lot more than what currently there,” Boehner said.

Specific improvements at the MLK Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden trail head include the addition of a new seating area with three benches, a trail kiosk, bike rack, bike repair station and tree planting. The proposed improvements at Forum Nature Area include a seating area, information kiosk, bike racks, bike repair station and the relocation of an emergency phone to a more accessible area.

Alex Stoner, a Columbia resident who often uses the MKT Trail, said the trail is quite accessible because there are a lot of places to get on and off the trail, but it still needs some improvements like planting more flowers along the trail.

“The trail is pretty straight way, and also there’s not really too much to look at while you’re on it. I think it’s better for more of a running or biking trail,” Stoner said.