The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which provides funding to support organizations and local governments that implement projects to build and improve rail-trails, awarded a $15,000 grant to Missouri Rock Island, Inc., for its efforts in creating a 384-mile cross-state trail system.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which provides funding to support organizations and local governments that implement projects to build and improve rail-trails, awarded a $15,000 grant to Missouri Rock Island, Inc., for its efforts in creating a 384-mile cross-state trail system.
Half of the funds are to be used for supporting trail development on a 145-mile segment of the inactive Rock Island rail line, which includes an essential stretch of trails that will link St. Louis and Kansas City. The other half is to be used for trail consulting services.
Earlier this spring, the City of Eldon also received a grant from Project for Public Spaces/Livability Solutions connected to the trail project.
Eldon was one of nine organizations nationwide to receive a grant for up to $22,000 from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute for technical assistance with engaging citizens and stakeholders in developing a plan for the trail through the city.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Sustainable Communities provided funding to Project for Public Spaces under its Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The EPA’s Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems.  EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities provides some of this assistance directly, and also funds the free technical assistance programs of two other nonprofit organizations, Smart Growth America and Global Green. Livability Solutions is a coalition of professionals from 10 leading nonprofit organizations with experience in sustainable development.
In February, the Surface Transportation Board approved the proposal by Ameren Electric to transfer the rail line to Missouri State Parks to become a trail. The decision was a major milestone in the decades-long work to convert the unused, 217-mile long rail corridor into a statewide trail that will benefit communities along the route.
Community leaders and others had been working toward development of the Rock Island corridor into a recreational facility. Ameren, which owned the corridor, made 145 miles of crucial rail line which will ultimately be used to connect St. Louis and Kansas City available for development in accordance with the federal Rails to Trails Act.
The plan converts old, unused rail lines into a trail from Windsor, in the western part of the state, to the Franklin County town of Beaufort in the east. It will cross the 240-mile Katy Trail twice. The planned route takes the trail through the city of Eldon. This plan called for corridors to be "railbanked," which is a legal term that means the corridor is available for public uses but allows for the reactivation of rail service by keeping the existing tracks intact.