$1.6 Million available for bike and pedestrian trail improvements through the OTO

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The Ozarks Transportation Organization (OTO) has nearly $1.6 million in federal funding available to divvy up to trail improvement projects across the area.

If applicants are awarded a portion of the money, it can be used for two purposes; Money can be used to build new bike and pedestrian trails and/or regional trail planning services. This being a trail improvement only application process is a first for the OTO.

This $1.6 million is just a sliver of the $125 million needed to create 87 miles worth of new, connecting trails across the OTO's part of the Ozarks. Senior Planner Andy Thomason said it's important to make improvements little by little as funding is available. He talked about how trails and pathways are a key to future success. "In order to grow, to attract new people, to attract new businesses, we have to work on improving and growing the quality of life within our community," Thomason began. "Trails have been demonstrated throughout the country as a way to improve that quality of life, that people like to be outside, like to be able to move, to travel, they like to be able to get away from their cars."

While Thomason said they have not received any applications yet for some of the money, he was able to talk about some past projects that were possible because of similar funds. "Some of the trail along highway 174 in Republic was built with this funding," said Thomason. He also said segments of the Fassnight Creek Greenway were possible though money like this. "Portions of the Galloway Trail are going to be rebuilt with this funding, the surface is nearing the end of it's useful life and it needs to be replaced," he added.

Eligible applicants include local governments and other entities responsible for trail oversight that are located in the OTO Metropolitan Planning Area. Eligible applicants must submit projects with a minimum request of $100,000 in federal funding and are required to contribute an additional 20% in local match finds.

Applications must be submitted to the OTO by 4pm on Friday, November 22, 2019.