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story.lead_photo.caption Holts Summit resident Jack Jones walks Tigger, his dutch malinois, Sunday morning, May 24, 2020, on the Katy Trail in North Jefferson City. Photo by Gerry Tritz / News Tribune.

Missourians will continue to see improvements to the Katy Trail as projects are regularly being completed.

The 240-mile-long trail gives a boost to Mid-Missouri's economy while also providing a space for Missourians and visitors to enjoy the outdoors.

Earlier this summer, a 3-mile section of the trail that runs through Sedalia was completed. Previously, trail users had to take a street route through Sedalia, but the $2.1 million project replaced that.

Grassroots organization Katy Trail Sedalia Inc. led the charge of securing the land for the new trail segment. The organization partnered with the city of Sedalia and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to create the new trail section.

Miranda Frederick, spokeswoman for DNR's Missouri State Parks division, said several projects are ongoing as the Katy Trail continues to be improved.

"We are currently working on the replacement bridge project for Salt Creek Bridge near Rocheport and a bluff stabilization project near Portland," Fredrick said. "We also are working to replace other bridges located along the trail each year with single-span steel bridges with concrete decking."

The Katy Trail stimulates the state's economy while providing an attraction for tourists. A 2011 report found the Katy Trail has an annual economic impact of almost $18.5 million. The impact, which includes direct and indirect spending, supports almost 400 jobs with a total payroll of more than $5 million.

As one of Missouri's tourist attractions, the Katy Trail brings in out-of-state visitors. Almost 90 percent of surveyed visitors said the Katy Trail was the main reason for their visit to the area. While on the Katy Trail, those visitors spent an average of almost $50 per day in Missouri.

"The trail runs across the center of the state and is close in proximity to many of our citizens," Fredrick said. "In addition, many communities have developed spurs to connect to the trail, which further expands the trail's reach and impact. As with any of our state parks and historic sites, the Katy Trail gives the opportunity for Missourians to get outdoors and be active, benefiting both physical and mental health."

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