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Mohaska Trail Raising Concerns For Southwest Joplin Neighborhood - KOAM TV 7

Mohaska Trail Raising Concerns For Southwest Joplin Neighborhood

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

    Tonight at the Joplin city council meeting - an emergency ordinance for adjustments to the Mohaska Trail project.
    And it's that project, that's bringing some controversy.
The Mohaska Trail project is certainly the most recent trail development by the City of Joplin, but it actually was one of the inaugural trails from more than two decades ago.
Dan Johnson, Asst. Director of Public Works: "This trail actually goes way back into the 90's when the city of Joplin, actually the area cities that were part of the metropolitan planning organization called 'JATSO'."
The trail will ultimately connect Cunningham Park, Mercy Park, the KCU Medical School, Freeman Hospital, and Main Street.
But it's the portion that replaces what was Mohaska Avenue - that has residents in that neighborhood concerned.
Sandra Wells, Joplin Resident: "Our biggest concern is break-ins, what kind of people is this going to attract, are we going to end up with trash, vandalism, I mean all kinds of things can go into that walking trail."
Wells address the council voicing her concerns - as did some of her neighbors.
Their end message - was to the point.
Wells: "We live there, and I don't want it there."
Johnson says the concerns aren't without merit, but, the trail should actually deter crime.
Johnson: "If you have a trail and you have a lot of the public passing through, the people that want privacy because they're not doing things that they want to do in the public, those folks generally move on and find someplace else."
Wells, disagrees.
While a significant portion of the Mohaska Trail passes along public streets and parks where people are clearly visible, she's worried about the Mohaska Avenue portion, that passes through her backyard.
Wells: "When you go behind our houses there is no street there, they're going to be hidden, by the houses, by the trees, by everything, it's not going to be an open view, which I think is just going to appeal to that type of people even more."
Wells says she hopes the city will cancel the project altogether, or at least, re-route this portion into a location that's more visible to the public eye.
     Johnson says, at this time, the trail project is still moving forward, and they hope to have it completed by late spring or early summer of next year.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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