From Ozark Greenways
The eight-mile paved linear park runs through the middle of Springfield, Missouri. It's used for biking, walking, running, enjoying nature close to home, and commuting without a car to work or school.
The South Creek Greenway (SC) is the quintessential urban trail, set in a natural landscape that’s been carefully preserved within a heavily developed city. This paved trail pays enormous benefits for the residents and visitors of the Springfield, Missouri community.
This is not just a trail for recreational use, it’s far more. It reaches a wide audience of income levels, ages, ethnicities and physical abilities. It allows children to walk or bike to school safely— in a culture where kids are becoming obese at an epidemic rate. It helps manage urban storm water within its wide natural borders— in an area where parking lots seem to outnumber trees. It raises property values and quality of life— in a world where value is taking on new meaning.
And it gives hope for the future – in unstable times, the trail is there. The trail keeps us healthy, ensures economic value, protects critical resources like air and water, and reminds us why we love the beauty of the Ozarks. This trail is a symbol of stability and our pride in this beautiful Midwestern community.
This project began with a ground breaking in 1993. We could not have gotten to the current 8 miles of heavily used trail without the many private and public partnerships we’ve been fortunate to form.
By utilizing a combination of public and private voluntary land easements, securing buy-in from our city, county and state officials, and resting on a solid base of private membership donation support, Ozark Greenways has successfully created the strong backbone to a comprehensive greenway trail system that will hopefully continue to grow as more light is shed on the importance of these facilities to the vitality of our community. Recognition through the NRT designation reaffirms to our local officials and donors what we’re trying to accomplish and helps us continue building more trail connections. There is much more to be done.
We have a great partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, as they manage the trail as part of the city park system. We’ve also been very successful working with Springfield Public Works to partner on enlarging storm water culverts to allow for more water while also improving trail user safety by bypassing heavily trafficked roads by removing at-grade crossings. SC has four underpasses and one large overpass as a result of these types of partnerships – not to mention the project money saved for both all parties by teaming up! Other partners on this project include MoDOT, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Springfield Public School District and the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. A long-term goal for this trail is to link to the NPS’s Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.
SC links to other community trails through on on-street bike route system being developed by our Public Works Department. Some of the best features of this trail are the four underpasses and the large Kansas Expressway overpass that allow bicyclists and pedestrians to avoid crossing very heavily trafficked roads.
Three schools are located along its route and signed for the national Safe Routes to School program initiative (Holland Elementary, Carver Middle, Mark Twain Elementary). We received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to create neighborhood sidewalk connections to further enhance these school routes.
Various innovative design features of this trail include: native prairie restoration areas, footbridge made of Rumber (recycled tire lumber), an awesome 900 foot long highway overpass that meets ADA standards, four underpasses that bypass busy roadways. Along the trail’s route, there are two parks, a creek, botanical gardens, a small lake, a horse farm, golf course, historic cemetery, several schools, many neighborhoods and shopping areas.
Bass Pro Shops holds its annual Outdoor Fitness Festival, with a 5K/10K and marathon on a portion of the trail, complete with internationally known running celebrities. The Ozarks Chapter Audubon Society has restored a wetland along side one mile of this trail. Toyota’s “Together Green” national initiative program with Audubon worked on this trail to promo environmental stewardship across the country. Numerous fundraising events are held on the trails by various non-profit community groups. The Ozark Greenways volunteer group, Trail Watch, monitors the trail for situations that need attention and interact with the public. We cannot rave about this trail enough— it truly is a major asset for Springfield.
The South Creek Greenway follows South Creek through the middle of Springfield, Missouri. There are several access points, from the first trailhead at National Avenue and Sunset Street all the way to M Highway and FF Highway.
Ozark Greenways, P.O. Box, 50733, Springfield MO 65805 Phone: (417) 864-2015 - Website: www.ozarkgreenways.org
Springfield-Greene County Park Board 1923 N. Weller, Springfield, Missouri, 65803, Phone: 417-864-1049 - Website: http://www.parkboard.org/