Conservation Board begins on trail plan

By John Butters, The JOURNAL


Washington residents have likely noticed that the city?s portion of the Kewash trail is the starting point for the Washington County Conservaton Board?s $682,000 project to improve the Kewash Trail.

In the first step, County Conservation Board employees are removing unsightly brush along the trail. After removal of the unwanted brush, the board will plant new shrubs and other foliage to create a green border along the trail.

The trail plan calls for a new surface, wider shoulders, improved drainage and the construction of a new spur to Lexington Avenue.

Currently, the trail passes Willow Pond Park as it continues to Keota. The new path will be constructed through the park, creating a link to Lexington Avenue near the Kirkwood College campus.

Recently, the supervisors approved clearing a fence line on county farmland to prepare for a DOT bid letting for the construction of the new spur.

Washington Conservation director Steve Anderson told supervisors that trees along the east side of the county fence line needed to be cleared to prepare for the next step in the process.

?We?re heading toward the bid letting,? Anderson said, ?working with the consultants and all of those with the goal of getting the construction going in 2018.?

They are pushing for construction in 2018 because a REAP grant will expire at that time, he said.

The project is well funded. Financial commitments include a TAP grant in the amount of $342,537; a Resource Enhancemenat and Protection (REAP) grant obtained by the City of Washington for $100,000; and commitments of $60,000 from the Washington County Conservation Board and $60,000 from the City of Washington.

The Board also received a grant of $120,000 from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation.