A grant from the Federal Highway Administration will help put a trail project in Ozark into action.

On Aug. 17, the Ozark Board of Aldermen held the first reading of a bill that will allow the city to hire the firm of Crawford, Murphy and Tilly for professional engineering services for design of a piece of what officials hope will one day be known as the Chadwick Flyer trail.

“This particular engineer also designed the improvements on Jackson Street, and we felt like there was some economy to scale there. We felt like there was a lot of data that they could utilize with the Chadwick Flyer, as well,” Ozark Director of Public Works Jeremy Parsons said.

The Ozark Board of Aldermen will consider final approval of the $9,045 contract at a meeting on Sept. 8. The contract will allow for the design of a trail from the Ozark School District property at West Jackson and North 18th Street northwest to where 18th Street intersects with West Clay Street, which is about 4,000 feet north of Jackson Street.

The trail will also run west of 12th Street to Diane Street, which serves several commercial properties.

The estimated cost of the trail is $1.19 million, but that won’t be discussed again until the design is finished.

Ozark’s aldermen appear poised to support the trail project.

“I don’t know how long it will take us to make this a reality, but this is a very exciting project,” Alderman Nathan Posten said.

In May 2019, a steering committee for what’s being called the Chadwick Flyer Regional Trailways formed to look into the feasibility of a trails system from Ozark to Galloway Village. Parsons heads the steering committee along with Mary Kromrey, executive director of Ozark Greenways. The steering committee includes representatives from Springfield, Christian County, the city of Ozark, the Ozark R-VI School District and Bass Pro Shops Finley Farms. 

In August 2019, a group of transportation stakeholders met to discuss future needs along the U.S. Highway 65 corridor in Ozark. That group, which included representatives from the city of Ozark, the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Ozarks Transportation Organization, among others, also discussed connecting downtown Ozark with the trail system from Lake Springfield and/or Galloway Creek in Greene County.

At the same time, work to widen West Jackson Street is underway. Jackson Street will be widened to five lanes, beginning at North 16th Street near KFC and El Taco, and continuing east for 0.9 miles to the Finley River Bridge, at a total cost of $9.3 million.

The West Jackson Street widening project is scheduled to wrap up in the fall of 2021.

The larger scope of the trail project calls for two pedestrian underpasses to be constructed beneath Jackson Street. The underpasses will serve two locations between Ozark’s combined junior high and high school campus to the north of Jackson Street, and the Ozark Innovation Center, the former FASCO manufacturing plant now under renovation.

One of the underpasses will be at North 12th Street, close to the Ozark High School softball field and King Cash Saver. The other underpass is close to North 16th Street, near the manufacturing plant-turned-Ozark Innovation Center.

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