Columbia welcomes eighth major trail to the city

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Recreation planned a ceremony Thursday to welcome the latest addition to the city's trail system.

The Grindstone Creek Trail is 1.75 miles of concrete, following the Grindstone Creek for a majority of the path. It's the eighth major trail in the city's trail system, along with the Hinkson Creek and MKT trails.

"The trail itself is an important link to Hinkson Creek Trail, which is part of the city's proposed 30-mile trail loop," Tammy Miller, Columbia Parks and Recreation spokesperson, said.

The project cost $1.6 million, and it was funded by a 2010 park sales tax and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

James Hill is a Columbia resident who said he frequently walks the city's trails. He said the new Grindstone Creek path is a positive addition to the city's landscape.

"It's nice that they're making improvements to the town and the area. I like how they've cleared the edges of the pathways," Hill said. "They're trying to have more flower growth instead of such great overgrowth of the vines and trees and what we used to have before. It looks much more open. It's safer and friendlier."

The trail's early stages of construction caused some nearby residents to voice concerns, but Hill said he didn't see a reason for complaints.

"Since I've been here, there's been talk of it coming, and now I see it, and I'm taking advantage of it," Hill said. "I like that."

The department completed construction on the trail in November 2015, but Miller said it delayed the trail's ceremony until more people could take advantage of it.

"We chose not to have a dedication leading into the winter, but wanted to have a grand opening in the spring," Miller said.

The ceremony, set for 5:30 p.m., was scheduled to include a ribbon-cutting, guided trail walk and tree giveaway.