SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - As the weather continues to stay unseasonably warm, more people are utilizing the Ozark Greenway Trails. There are more projects planned for the routes during throughout 2017.
Mary Kromrey with Ozark Greenways says the organization is focused on three major improvements. The first improvement is filling in a gap on the Ward Branch Greenway Trail. Paving is expected to be complete and the trail re-opened by July or August of 2017.
Next on the list, filling in a gap along the Fulbright Spring Greenway. “We are going to have over seven miles of continuous Greenway,” Kromrey explained about the Fulbright plans. She also said this connection would allow people commute from River Spring Park to Truman Elementary School.
The final item on the agenda is an extension to the James River Greenway Trail, paving for this extension is expected to start later this spring. The extension will run through the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield.
All of the changes and upgrades to the trail system are funded by grants and private donations. "Ozark Greenways is a great way to give back to your community, I love working for Ozark Greenways because it's a small nonprofit,” said Kromrey about her experience with the organization over the years. She also shared how the nature in our area helps the economy in Southwest Missouri. “The great outdoors is a huge economic boom for the area," said the Ozark native.
Volunteers are always welcomed by the group. A Family Friendly Volunteer Work Day is going on this coming Saturday, February 18th at Tal’s Trailhead from ten in the morning until noon. Kromrey says this is just one of the ways people can get involved.
"Greenways are for everybody, once you step on this trail you’re a trail user,” said Kromrey. “It doesn't care if you've had a wonderful day, if you've had a great day, if you’re rich, or if you're under resourced.”
With these three major improvements about to begin, the Galloway Greenway will celebrate more than 20 years since its construction. Kromrey said it’s been a great experience seeing generations return and use the trails. “They are bringing their kids back in baby strollers, so it's super neat to see that generational youth."