Local residents are flocking to a series of public meetings to get a glimpse of how the Rock Island corridor will develop in the future.
More than 200 people have turned out for two meetings so far with a third scheduled for Wednesday, March 15 in Raytown. The last meeting is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Raytown Wellness Center.
Organizers are excited about the large turnout for the meetings and the interest in the corridor, which Jackson County purchased in partnership with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority last year.
“These meetings are an opportunity for an open dialogue with the community about their vision and expectations for the Rock Island corridor,” said Josh Boehm, development manager for Jackson County’s Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority. “People were absolutely buzzing with ideas and questions.”
“The corridor,” Boehm said, “is about the future of three Jackson County communities, and a demonstration of the power when agencies and municipalities work together under a shared, community-driven vision. “
The 17.7-mile corridor stretching from the Truman Sports Complex to Lee’s Summit will start as a biking-and-hiking trail and eventually evolve into a transit corridor.
Staffers from the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority joined with rail corridor authority officials to discuss the project and take public input at meetings in south Kansas City and Lee’s Summit.
On hand for the KCATA were: Dick Jarrold, vice president of regional planning and development; Dennis Hays, vice president of strategic and economic development; transit planner Shawn Strate; and project intern Grazia Xiong.
All three met with residents, answering questions about various facets of the corridor, including transit possibilities such as bus rapid transit or commuter rail.
“There was a lot of excitement about developing a trail on the corridor and its potential for regional connections,” Strate said. “People expressed a real desire for expanded express service to downtown and to the sports complex as well.”