3M Grant Brings Ecology Project To MKT Trail
In his office in the Parks Management Center, Parks Development Superintendent Steven Saitta was busy Monday working on plans for the Urban Ecology Restoration Proposal for the MKT Trail. He was happy because the plan has received a gift from the 3M company.
"We have had the proposal for quite a long time, but we have not done very well with getting funding sources. This year, with the support from 3M, we can do it," said Saitta.
An old, abandoned Columbia Sewer Treatment Plant between the the Forum Boulevard access and the Martin Luther King Park is the core of the project. The plant was built in the 1950's and was taken out of service in 1983. However, the abandoned pump house and other remnants are still evident on the 25 acre site.
"Those are visually unattractive and potentially hazardous to both nearby residents and users of the MKT Trail. That's why we want to take it out, "Saitta said. "We will also put more aquatic plants along the creeks, and improve the overall environment"
The plan is not well known to MKT Trail users. Nathan Casey, who walks his dogs several times a week, knows little about the plan, but he is happy to see the trail would become more attractive.
"I have been in Columbia for five years, and I come to the trail as much as I can. This is certainly a good project that will benefit people like me. I would like to know more about it if the city can do a better job to let us know their plan."Casey said.
The city will start work on the project in the fall and will finish it in late 2011.