Randy Kirby

A ceremonial ground-breaking was held Thursday afternoon for a $2.5 million infrastructure project to close a 3-mile gap of the Katy Trail in Sedalia.

Missouri State Parks hosted the event at the Katy Depot, and featured Gov. Mike Parson, as well as local and state dignitaries.

“The project is a true representation of what we can accomplish through partnerships,” Gov. Parson said, mentioning the cooperation of Sedalia, Pettis County, Katy Trail Sedalia, Inc. and the DNR.

The DNR will construct the first 1.5 mile section from Griessen Road to Booonville Road on land owned by the DNR. That portion of the project will begin later this month and will cost $1.5 million.

The second section is also 1.5 miles and will connect Boonville Road to the Katy Trail Depot, 600 East 3rd. It will include a half mile of crushed limestone trail and one mile of hard surface trail on city-owned land in Sedalia's existing right-of-way.

The City of Sedalia has received a $1 million Recreational Trails Program grant from the DNR for this portion. Construction will begin later this summer, it was reported.

The Katy Trail is a state park that runs 237 miles and starts at St. Charles at mile marker 27 on the Missouri River, and ends at Clinton. It is a rails-to-trails project that is a former right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT).

The Trail is used by joggers, bicyclists and hikers year-round. In 1991, the Union Pacific Railroad donated 33 miles of right-of-way from Sedalia to Clinton.

In 2012, Missouri State Parks conducted a study to determine the economic impact of Katy Trail State Park, based on user spending, and found the trail had a direct impact of $18.5 million per year.

Also speaking at the event were Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Carol Comer, Missouri State Park Director Ben Ellis, Sedalia Mayor John Kehde, Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick, State Representative Brad Pollitt.