Columbia residents divided over Hinkson Creek Valley trail

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COLUMBIA - A group of Columbia residents is asking the city to reevaluate the fate of the Hinkson Creek Valley trail.

The city is planning to build a trail connecting MU's campus to Hinkson Creek Valley, cutting through residential areas.

Sutu Forte serves as co-executive director of It's Our Wild Nature, a group that works to preserve land in Columbia. Forte said a recent string of crimes in and around campus is one reason they do not want the trail built.

"The bike road that the city wants to put through would be a direct link for that campus crime coming into our neighborhood," Forte said. "It scares us and we don't want that here."

The small, quiet neighborhood off Old U.S. 63 has three different entrances, but dead ends. Barb Wren, co-executive director of It's Our Wild Nature, said the current trail option opens up their back doors to crime.

Some residents think the trail is a good idea. Laura Marty has lived in Woodlea Drive since 2008. Marty said the trail would make it easier for residents to get to downtown. 

"It's going to be busier because we're going to see people that don't live here running through the neighborhood," Marty said. "Right now we're a little bit spoiled because there's no traffic."

Resident Hilary Baumann said the trail will allow bikers to get downtown faster.

"Now that they've taken out the provision to get rid of part of our neighbor's lands for the sidewalks, I don't mind," said Baumann.

Columbia City Council is currently pursuing options that would create the trail but exclude sidewalks on Southwood Drive and parts of Bluffdale Drive. Option 4 is the only plan that would not create a trail through Hinkson Creek Valley.