Rock Island Towns Need Economic Development
Belle, Missouri: Waiting for the Trail
The small town of Belle, Missouri applied for a Recreational Trails Grant in 2014. They received the funding to build approximately one mile of trail on the Rock Island Corridor to connect the center of town with the city park. Fast forward to 2017 and the state of Missouri put a halt on trail development because the state has not yet made a decision to accept the donation of the 144 corridor from a utility company. Although Belle successfully completed all required actions, the Missouri State Parks is planning to withdraw the funding even though previous state officials promised to extend the project until 2020. A private foundation has provided a guarantee that the trail will remain in public use for 25 years.
This NPR article highlights the challenges of rural communities and illustrates the need for a trail and much needed economic development in the 23 Rock Island communities in Central Missouri.