In Versailles, Mayor Terry Silvey says his community’s trail committee is working to be ready to build the three miles of trail on the corridor through town as soon as the transfer from the railroad division of Ameren Electric to Missouri State Parks is completed later this year.

More than 50 people turned out for a meeting held in Stover to discuss the coming of the Rock Island Trail.

As in former railroad communities all along the Rock Island corridor, Stover residents are realizing the huge impact thousands of bicyclists rolling through town will have on the economy and the opportunities that will be coming down the trail, according to trail organizers.

The meeting, chaired by Stover Mayor Brenda Steffans, had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the crowd. The Stover trail committee is working on ways to benefit from the anticipated influx of visitors. Those in attendance heard presentations from Missouri Rock Island Trail Inc. Executive Director Greg Harris and Windsor City Administrator Kim Henderson about what to expect when the trail comes to town.

Windsor became the link between the Rock Island and Katy trails in December when the first 47 miles of the RIT was officially opened in Pleasant Hill near Kansas City.

In the months since, visitor numbers in the towns along the newly opened route have skyrocketed as outdoor enthusiasts get out and enjoy the new trail, according to Henderson who has both private and public knowledge of the advantages of the trail. She has invested in rental cabins for trail users in her town.

“I’m suddenly booked through the season,” Henderson said of her rental experience. “People are coming from around the world to Windsor, attracted by the expanding Missouri trail system.”

Other business people and public officials along the route are getting ready for the coming boom.

In Versailles, Mayor Terry Silvey says his community’s trail committee is working to be ready to build the three miles of trail on the corridor through town as soon as the transfer from the railroad division of Ameren Electric to Missouri State Parks is completed later this year.

Harris says excitement is growing all along the Rock Island corridor.

“From the boom Windsor and Pleasant Hill are seeing from the December opening of the first 47 miles of the Rock Island to the first 1.5 miles of trail being built in Belle, communities up and down the line are expecting great things from the trail,” says Harris. “In Eldon a new care center and a regional clinic are being built on the corridor and everywhere people are moving to have their communities benefit.”

MORIT is a statewide non-profit organization working toward development of the Rock Island right-of-way into a recreational trail. The line runs across the state south of the Missouri River from near St. Louis to Kansas City. A 47.5-mile stretch between Windsor and Pleasant Hill opened in late 2016, connecting the 240-mile Katy Trail to suburban Kansas City.