In hopes of improving accessibility and safety for Maplewood MetroLink riders, a group of residents will present a proposal to the Maplewood City Council that asks for the development of a lighted, environmentally friendly walking path to the Maplewood-Manchester Station through Kellogg Park.
The path would be funded using a $64,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which the city has received annually for several years. Money can be used toward public works projects in low-to-medium-income (LMI) areas of the city, which includes Kellogg Park and nearby housing along Laclede Station Road.
The Council planned to vote on how to use the funds at its last meeting, May 9, however, after three residents made public statements that supported the path and greater community input on how the money will be spent, the Council decided to table the decision.
The Council will decide on the issue this Tuesday, June 13, at its regular meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m.
This is not the first time such a project has been proposed. Last year, Maplewood resident and Park Board member Adelina Mart put forth the idea when the council was deciding how to use the CDBG. However, the Council decided to put the funding into a homeowner improvement program, which the money has historically gone to.
To gauge support for the path ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Mart posted a petition on chang.org June 1 to the City of Maplewood and Maplewood City Council. The petition states:
“For years, people have been beating a path through Kellogg Park to reduce their commute. The path is so frequently used that it is even visible from space! (on GoogleMaps).
On a nice day, the walk through the park is enjoyable. But on a rainy day, the trail turns muddy. In the early morning or during the evening when the whole park is pitch black and people make their way through overgrown bushes in the dark, it becomes a safety hazard. And for individuals with mobility issues, it is completely impossible to traverse.
It’s time for Maplewood to use this money to address the needs of the communities for which it was intended. While we spend over $700,000/year to repair our potholed streets, we must not forget the needs of community members who rely on walking and transit to get around.”
Since its posting, the petition has garnered more than 60 supporters. More than 20 have commented on their reasons for signing. Here’s what some say in support of the path.
A trail would improve things for so many of our neighbors.
As a parent of a disabled adult child, I want a handicap accessible route.
Every time I go to this park I see countless people – students and working professionals alike, cutting through this park to get to the Metrolink station. It makes sense to put in a concrete path to make the Metrolink more accessible for everyone. Also, adding in a concrete pathway will reduce constant foot traffic on the fields, which as we know, damages the field.
I use this method of getting to the MetroLink three days a week, unless it’s raining, because taking a tumble trying to get up the slick hill isn’t fun. It’s my fastest route to the train.
I am a renter and someone who loves living in Maplewood. But even if I wasn’t a renter, I feel like this would be the best use of the funds. It promotes the use of public transportation, which is crucial in the climate change crisis we’re in. But it also helps the whole community, not just the more privileged group. And I’m sure it will make Maplewood an even more attractive place to live.
Click on this link to view the petition: https://www.change.org/p/city-of-maplewood-build-a-trail-in-kellogg-park-to-connect-to-the-metrolink-station?source_location=minibar
In addition to change.org, the proposed path has received interest on Facebook.
Ward 3 city council candidate Jenny Schmidt called the use of CDBG funds for the path an important issue on her campaign Facebook page, urging residents to sign the petition. Also, the recently launched Maplewood-Richmond Heights action team of Mobilize Missouri is encouraging people to attend Tuesday’s meeting via its Facebook page.
How to weigh in on the use of the CDBG
Residents who want to weigh in how the CDBG should be spent should attend the city council meeting Tuesday. They are also encouraged to email the city through its contact form. All emailed comments will be included when the City of Maplewood files for the CDBG.