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Fairgrounds Drive progressing

The Park Hills City project at Fairgrounds Drive is progressing nicely, with about 15 to 20 percent of the work complete, according to city officials.

City Administrator Mark McFarland said the project is another instance of Park Hills and Farmington continually growing physically closer to one another.

“Park Hills has been inching its way to Farmington and Farmington has been inching this way,” McFarland said. “At some point in time, if we don’t meet already we soon will. That area is going to develop and we’re happy that we have this project going with Bill Mitchell and his developer. I’m excited to see what happens.”

Contractors have already cleared much of the planned extension of Fairgrounds Drive, and have begun digging to extend the sewer and water lines to the area. Plans to extend natural gas lines are currently being considered.

In the original proposal, the city gave the developer about 360 days to complete the project, but the developer returned with a timetable of about 160 days, putting the estimated time of completion to be as soon as mid-November.

After work on the road, sewer, water and gas lines is completed, the next phase of the project will be to connect the new hiking and biking trail to the existing ones. The parking area will then be connected to the existing ATV area, allowing off-roaders to go right from the parking lot to the trails.

A study completed before the project began suggests that many more of the ATV and motorcycle riders who use the facilities at St. Joe State Park actually use wooded trails as opposed to the tailing flats. The Fairgrounds Drive project will allow quick access from U.S. 67 to the park’s more than 11 miles of established off road trails.

The project is heavily assisted by the Missouri Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources. MoDOT is providing 11 percent of the funding for the road and 80 percent of the funding for trails, while the Department of Natural Resources is providing about $150,000 toward the ATV connections.

Park Hills will contribute between 60 and 70 percent of the project’s total cost, but much of this funding is money that the city has already received and will be distributing as the project is completed. The idea is to spread the spending out so no one fiscal year is significantly impacted by the project.

The Fairgrounds Drive project is intended to capitalize upon and further accommodate the 600,000 annual visitors to St. Joe State Park each year, with city officials hoping to attract a hotel, convenience stores, restaurants and an RV park to the area.

Workers have cleared much of the planned Fairgrounds Drive roadway extension and have begun working to extend sewer and water lines to the area. The project is estimated to be completed in mid to late November.

Workers have cleared much of the planned Fairgrounds Drive roadway extension and have begun working to extend sewer and water lines to the area. The project is estimated to be completed in mid to late November.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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