Crews Clear Land North of Carthage; Bicycle Trails Planned

03/07/2013 09:28

March 4, 2013

Crews clear land north of Carthage; bicycle trails planned

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Carthage officials are hopeful that tons of trash cleared out a week ago eventually will make way for bicycle trails through the Walnut Bottoms area north of Carthage.

The 25-acre tract along the Spring River includes a two-thirds of an acre plot owned by Jasper County. That tract soon will be given to the city, and both county and city crews have worked to clear debris out of the area that has been used as dumpsite.

“They got out 95 cubic yards of trash and over 300 tires,” said Tom Short, Carthage city administrator.

Short said the standard dump trucks used by Carthage will hold five cubic yards, meaning the equivalent of 19 dump trucks of trash was removed.

“They found everything down there, including some camp sites that people had used,” he said.

“Our guys picked up about 150 tires, and that was just on the land owned by the county,” said Bob Burris, superintendent of the Jasper County Highway Department.

Carthage officials are hopeful that developing bicycle trails through the region will encourage better use of the property and add to recreational opportunities for area residents, said Short.

City officials are working with volunteers from local bicycle and trails groups that have offered to help with the planning. Just over 2.5 miles of trails used by four-wheelers already exists. Short said the city wants to develop that into a five-mile-long trail that eventually can be linked with other trails in the area.

He said no decisions have been made on the design, but officials and volunteers are debating whether the trail should be designed by a professional.

“The bicycle enthusiasts working with us have offered to try to raise some money to hire a consultant to lay out the trail so that things like water issues could be professionally addressed,” Short said.

He said Alan Bull, parks director, also plans to propose funding for the design as part of the department’s five-year capital improvement plan.

“But that will depend on what the council decides when it comes time to act on the budget,” he said.

County, city property

The two-thirds of an acre tract went to the county after a former owner failed to pay taxes on it. The county has offered the land to Carthage and the city has accepted, said John Bartosh, presiding commissioner.