Parks and Rec Creates Plan of Convenience for Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Rec is bringing a new plan of connectivity to the city.

It held a public meeting Wednesday night for its Gray Oak Connector project.  The goal of the project is to link as many homes as possible in the Huntridge-Highpointe Park area to the Hinkson Creek trail and to connect the Seven Oaks neighborhood to the commercial shopping center on Grindstone Parkway.

According to Parks and Rec, when Walmart and the shopping center were first built part of the agreement was that developers would build a trail from the shopping center to the nearby neighborhoods. However, the original route wasn't feasable so developers didn't go through with that plan.

Then, Parks and Rec met with a developer about six to seven years ago to discuss ideas for a trail but there were too many issues that got in the way, including difficult land elevation.

Dean Andersen, a resident of the Huntridge area, suggested Parks and Rec revisit the idea.  "I think these trails would lend connectivity for the neighborhoods and provide a way for people to get to places like Walmart, Kohl's, or the grocery store without having to use the streets," Andersen said.  "It would also allow them access to the Hinkson Creek Trail which then provides access to the Katy Trail and really opens up the whole city."

Parks and Rec says trails would help keep people and students from walking on the main roads.  It proposed six different trail options to the public.  The number of trails and potential trail combinations to build is up in the air.

Based on feedback gathered Wednesday night, Parks and Rec will build a proposal for the City Council.  "So far feedback has been very positive," Parks and Rec Superintendent of Planning and Development Mike Snyder said.  "People are excited and would like to see the trail built."

Parks and Rec has not spoken to Walmart about the plan yet.

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