To encourage students and residents to walk, run or bike, the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and the Jefferson City Public Schools are partnering to add a potential greenway around the new Capital City High School.
The trail would border the new high school by running south parallel to Missouri 179 from Frog Hollow Road to Mission Drive and following Mission Drive east around the school up to Frog Hollow Road. The total greenway loop would be 1.4 miles.
Some of the greenway would connect with public sidewalks by the school, Parks Director Todd Spalding said.
The trail would branch off the Frog Hollow Greenway Trail, north of Capital City High School. The current Frog Hollow Greenway Trail is split into sections the city hopes to create a 1.2-mile loop between Edgewood Drive and Frog Hollow Road.
JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum anticipates several students, parents, staff and the neighborhood would use the potential greenway trail. The partnership allows the school and city to be proactive in healthy living, he added.
Residents have been calling for more trail extensions and connectivity for years, and the recent Parks Department master plan has it listed as one of the top requests. Spalding said this greenway extension not only would meet residents' wants but would promote the department's goal to encourage healthy lifestyles.
"The whole idea of a trail system is to get people outside. So when we look at places — and we've looked at quite a few places in our city — we look at how can we connect more of our trails," he said. "This one does that and also makes a big loop around the high school. There's going to be a lot of people at the high school, and there would be a lot of people from the (St. Mary's) hospital. It just makes sense to get people outside."
The estimated cost to extend the trail around the high school is about $250,000, Spalding said.
The proposed trail has not been finalized, as the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission still would need to approve it, Spalding said. If approved, he hopes to have the trail completed by late 2019.
The school district plans for the greenway trail to be part of the school's construction, Linthacum said.
The three-story high school building would serve up to 1,500 students. Construction on the school may be done by Dec. 31, 2019, or early January 2020.
If the Parks and Recreation Commission approves the trail and it is completed, there is another potential greenway extension beginning at Mission Drive and going through St. Mary's. There have been some discussions about extending the greenway through the hospital's campus to Route C, Parks Assistant Director JJ Gates said, but nothing has been set in stone.