The Missouri Rock Island Trail board of directors will host a meet-and-greet in Stover, giving residents a chance to gather and discuss the future of the project.

The Missouri Rock Island Trail board of directors will host a meet-and-greet in Stover, giving residents a chance to gather and discuss the future of the project.
MORIT board chairwoman Chrysa Niewald says the Stover event is just one of a series planned all along the Rock Island corridor. “We are anxious to give people in the communities along the line the opportunity to talk about what development of the trail will do for their town,” Niewald said. “We know how towns along the Katy Trail have benefited from that project and we want to share what the Rock Island Trail will do for Stover, Eldon, Versailles and towns all along the line.”
The MORIT meet-and-greet will be held at the Stover United Methodist Church, 206 N. Hickory (South Highway 135) from 5-6 p.m. June 1.
Community leaders and others have been working for years toward development of the Rock Island corridor into a recreational facility. The corridor is owned by a railroad subsidiary of Ameren Electric. Ameren has announced plans to formally make available more than 140 miles of the corridor between St. Louis and Kansas City, setting the stage for development of the entire route into a biking/hiking trail in accordance with the federal Rails to Trails Act.
Proposed at the beginning of the year, the plan was exposed to public scrutiny and was met with mixed opinions. A coalition of communities along the trail is forming a partnership to work together in getting the railbed turned into a picturesque trail, while farmers and landowners are resisting it. Eventually gaining traction, the trail was approved by the Surface Transportation Board in late February.
The plan is to convert an old rail line 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 236-mile Katy Trail twice. The planned route takes the trail through the city of Eldon.
This plan also would not do away with the railway itself. Instead, it calls for the corridor to be "railbanked," a legal term that means the corridor is made available for public use but allows for the reactivation of rail service by keeping the existing tracks intact.
    "As a Rock Island neighbor myself, I can tell you that this trail is going to be a major step forward for communities along the Rock Island line," said said Brent Hugh, Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.
"The rail line has been nothing but trouble for the communities it runs through since rail traffic stopped more than 30 years ago.  Now that sore spot will become an important amenity for communities that everyone can enjoy." says Hugh