Jackson County, Missouri, held a grand opening last weekend of the much-anticipated phase two of the Rock Island Trail. The “Ride the Rock” ribbon cutting celebration took place on Saturday, July 10, at the new stadium trailhead, located at the Truman Sports Complex.
Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr.; Jackson County Parks + Rec; and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) hosted local officials, community members, and media to celebrate the occasion and enjoy a great day on the trail. Guests had an opportunity to leave their mark on the project by signing a piece of rail from the historic Rock Island line. The rail piece will be displayed at to-be-determined Jackson County Parks + Rec facility.
The second phase of the Rock Island Trail is 7 miles long and runs from Brickyard Road in Kansas City, through Raytown, to the Truman Sports Complex. Combined with phase one, which opened in June 2019, the entire trail is 13.5 miles in length. With completion of the Rock Island Trail, Jackson County now has more than 150 miles of trails in its parks system for people to enjoy.
The new trail segment includes three new trailheads and parking areas, the preservation and re-use of four former railroad bridges, and five new trail-only bridges, including the new Wildwood Bridge, which at over 300 feet in length is one of the longest trail bridges in the region.
“The County had a vision to revitalize and energize our community in a way we have never seen before, and now that it has finally come to life, I am so proud and excited to celebrate this major accomplishment,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “With the support of the Legislature, our visitors will enjoy an experience like no other on the Rock Island Trail, including riding a bike all the way from Lee’s Summit to a game, concert or event at the Truman Sports Complex. I am deeply grateful to our Parks + Rec leadership, Rock Island team, contractor and partners for their hard work and perseverance to see this beautiful project through to the very end.”
“We are very excited to open phase two and celebrate the completion of the Rock Island Trail,” said Rock Island Project Manager Matt Davis. “This project transformed a blighted railroad corridor into a beautiful place for Jackson County residents to exercise, recreate and connect with their community. We are proud to finally share this wonderful amenity with the community.”
Following the County’s ribbon cutting ceremony, visitors walked and biked the Rock Island from the stadium trailhead, encountering fun activities along the way, including a dedication of the Raytown Chamber Trailhead at noon.
Total construction costs for phase two of the trail was $11.6 million, paid for by Jackson County with generous grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation and Kansas City, Missouri. Radmacher Brothers Construction of Pleasant Hill, Missouri built all 13.5 miles of the trail for Jackson County.
Jackson County acquired the 17.7-mile Rock Island Railroad Corridor in May 2016, in partnership with the KCATA to preserve the corridor for multi-modal transportation opportunities. Additional information about the Rock Island and other Jackson County trails can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/KCRRC.