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First phase nears completion

Almost a year after breaking ground on the extension of Fairgrounds Drive, the City of Park Hills is preparing to wrap up that project, with the two adjoining trailheads into St. Joe State Park to follow.

Park Hills Economic Development Director Anna Kleiner said she and other city officials, along with project engineers, contracts and representatives from the Missouri Department of Transportation, recently performed a semi-final inspection of the road and the planted grass alongside.

“We’re hoping to close out that project very soon,” Kleiner said. “The grass is ‘hydro-seeding,’ which is different than turf-growing grass. It seems to do well on more rocky surfaces, and it’s doing very nicely out there.”

Kleiner said the road extension is essentially completed, with the final paperwork and MoDOT inspection still remaining.

The Fairgrounds Drive extension carried a price tag of about $1.14 million, with the City of Park Hills borrowing $844,944 from the Missouri Transportation Financial Corporation, to be paid back in nine yearly payments.

Two future trailheads will be accessible from the extended Fairgrounds Drive — one for hiking and biking and another for off-road vehicles. The Park Hills City Council recently approved a bid for the hiking/biking trail, pending MoDOT’s final approval of the contract.

“The construction bid has been approved with Ideal Landscape (Construction, Inc.) out of St. Louis,” Kleiner said. “The contract language has been approved by MoDOT and we’re waiting to receive the paperwork from Taylor Engineering and to have the city officials sign it. Then we can have our pre-construction meeting and begin construction with the contractor.”

The hiking/biking trail, dubbed the “Donelly-LaMear Hiking-Biking Trail,” was initially estimated to cost approximately $344,000, but after additional engineering was performed, the cost began to rise. The accepted bid from Ideal Landscape Construction, Inc. was the lowest bid at $491,022.

Both trails have received federal funds from different sources — the hiking/biking trail has received funds channeled through MoDOT, while the off-road vehicle trail has received funding through the Recreational Trails Program through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The hiking/biking trail is hoped to be finished by this December, with the off-road vehicle trail to follow.

“The final engineering has been done,” Kleiner said of the off-road vehicle trail. “We’re in the process of acquiring the easements for the right-of-way for the temporary construction work. When that’s finalized, we will advertise for construction bids to get that project going.”

Engineering of the off-road vehicle trail is being performed by BFA, Inc. out of Washington, Missouri, who Kleiner said has worked with the City of Park Hills in the past.

The development area surrounding the Fairgrounds Drive extension, called “Flat River Commons,” is planned to include residential and commercial properties. A 2016 feasibility study commissioned by the City of Park Hills indicated that a hotel could do well in the developed area.

The extension of Faigrounds Drive toward St. Joe State Park off U.S. 67 is virtually complete, with final paperwork and inspections remaining.

The extension of Faigrounds Drive toward St. Joe State Park off U.S. 67 is virtually complete, with final paperwork and inspections remaining.

The planned development of the

The planned development of the “Flat River Commons” includes both commercial and residential properties along the extended Fairgrounds Drive.

A photo taken in January of this year shows the progress made on the Fairgrounds Drive extension in five short months.

A photo taken in January of this year shows the progress made on the Fairgrounds Drive extension in five short months.

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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