Local groups meet to discuss rail to trail proposal

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WESTPHALIA - Many groups will meet Thursday night in Westphalia to discuss the Rock Island Rail to Trail proposal.

Missouri Rock Island Trail Incorporated (MORIT) board member Daphney Partridge said the rail to trail proposal is a great thing for the community.

"Tonight is going to be really important to inform folks about the process we're going through," Partridge said. "I do believe that the Rock Island Trail is a very good thing. We've been working on this in our community for three years."

The proposal will create a railroad to trail conversion from Windsor to Beaufort. Groups from Ameren, the department of natural resources, the Missouri Farm Bureau, and national rails to trails will provide information to the public.

Director of Regulatory Affairs Leslie Holloway will present at the meeting Thursday night, in order to show many home owners along railway are unaware of the proposal.

"There's no requirement for public notice to those landowners, and there's almost a thousand if not more along that trail," Holloway said.

The Missouri Farm Bureau is opposed to the trail because of concerns involving home owners and funding.

"The concerns have to do with the land owners along the trail. Concerns have been raised about the cost of the trail," Holloway said.

She said a lot of people have voiced their concerns about their livestock, property,and farms being impacted.

The 145 mile railway is currently abandoned, and if converted into a trail many local counties will be affected such as Cass, Cole, and Osage. It is currently owned by Ameren, and authorization for the project is pending.

The meeting will be Thursday night from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Westphalia Knights of Columbus Hall on Highway 63.