Public meeting would discuss bringing popular Northwest Arkansas trail into Southwest Missouri

L-R: Elizabeth Bowen (Project Manager) and Tim Conklin (Assistant Director) of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission

L-R: Elizabeth Bowen (Project Manager) and Tim Conklin (Assistant Director) of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission

Via Joplin Globe

PINEVILLE, MO—Imagine Northwest Arkansas' popular Razorback Greenway one day rolling into Southwest Missouri.

That's the hope of some Missourians, minus perhaps the word "Razorback."

The Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission have scheduled a meeting for Monday, March 6, to hear from residents of McDonald County as they work on developing a bicycling and pedestrian plan to connect Jane and Pineville to the expanding trail network in Northwest Arkansas.

The 37-mile Razorback Greenway is the backbone of a 100-mile trail network in Benton and Washington counties in Northwest Arkansas, and it connects major destinations such as the University of Arkansas, malls and shopping centers, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, as well as headquarters for major employers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Right now, the trail ends at Lake Bella Vista, but future extensions include taking it 8 or so miles north to the state line, said Tim Conklin, assistant director of the Northwest Arkansas planning group.

That extension is just one of 17 "catalyst" projects the group envisions that would further link trail users to other attractions and destinations in the region, including the kayak park in Siloam Springs, Arkansas; the historic Pea Ridge National Military Park in eastern Benton County; and even taking the trail south from Fayetteville for another 12 miles to West Fork, closer to Devil's Den State Park. 

"It's an economic boon," Nikki Hill, transportation planner for the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, said of the Razorback Greenway. "People are coming there from all over the country. Now they have all these wonderful amenities. We can really piggyback off of it."

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