Turkey Creek Trail connection through Mission hits dead end in city council committee

The trail is complete through Merriam, including this section near the Merriam Marketplace.
The trail is complete through Merriam, including this section near the Merriam Marketplace.

The potential for a portion of the Turkey Creek Trail to run through Mission appears unlikely following a city council discussion of the issue Wednesday that generated opposition to the extension from several council members.

The city last year was awarded a grant for design and preliminary engineering for the portion of the trail that was designed to go through the northwest corner of Mission. A proposal to accept the $69,570 grant and formally commit the city’s match of $39,000 was tabled at the last city council meeting by councilors who wanted more information.

“I don’t even think it should go through Mission,” said Councilor Pat Quinn. It was Quinn who made the motion to table at the last council meeting. He had originally expressed support for the trail. The trail is complete through Merriam and Overland Park from 75th Street to near the city limit with Mission at I-635. The trail was conceptually designed to run through Mission and connect to a trail section in Kansas City, Kan., that would lead across the state line for a 10-mile trail.

Quinn suggested the trail could connect from Merriam to KCK by heading down Merriam Drive. It could just stay on the north side of I-35, said Councilor Amy Miller, who has long opposed the trail placement. “They did not even consider Mission (in designing the trail),” said Councilor Jennifer Cowdry. The trail construction originally started in 1992.

The council turned back a $1 million construction grant in 2013 and has debated new grant applications for the trail several times.

“It sounds like we have reached a conclusion,” conceded Councilor Dave Shepard, who has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of the trail and its extension through Mission, calling it an element “in building a world class community.”

City administrator Laura Smith told the council that the design grant would not consider complete re-alignments of the trail – only possible trail alignments through Mission. Wednesday’s discussion came during a council committee meeting.