Missouri State Parks has announced that it will hold a series of three informational meetings in communities along the Rock Island Line Corridor. The purpose of the open house-style meetings will be to discuss the potential effects on communities, citizens and Missouri State Parks if the corridor were to be developed into a long-distance recreational trail.

The meetings will include information about the potential costs of trail development and operations, public safety, landowner and legal issues, environmental and natural resource issues and property management options.

The three meetings will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

Monday, Oct. 29
Scenic Regional Library
503 S. Olive St., Owensville

Tuesday, Oct. 30
Morgan County Library
600 N. Hunter St., Versailles

Thursday, Nov. 1
Citizen’s Civic League Hall

Greg Harris, executive director of the Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc., a coalition of communities, businesses, organizations and citizens seeking to preserve the Rock Island corridor as a linear park, is encouraging supporters to attend as many of the meeting as they can and to submit substantive written comments.

“There will be comment cards available at the meetings, and it is absolutely critical to submit substantive written comments,” Harris said in a written statement.

“In your written comments, whether submitted at the meetings or online, it is not enough to say that you want the state to take possession of the corridor from Ameren, which has indicated its intent to donate it. Rather, it is critical to address the substantive issues involved, recognizing that Missouri State Parks simply does not have the funds ($50 million or more) required to develop, operate and maintain the trail in the foreseeable future,” Harris continued. “Park officials will thus be interested in possible partnership models for financing, developing and operating the trail as a whole, or potential partnerships for developing and maintaining certain segments of the trail.”

Background information is available online at https://mostateparks.com/rockislandlinecorridor, including photos of various obstacles, a six-page summary of the current condition of the corridor, FAQs, and comments submitted by government entities and individuals during a comment period in 2017.

Missouri State Parks must make its decision on whether or not to accept the corridor from Ameren by February 2019.