By Kevin Collison
The proposed Greenline recreational trail loop around downtown now has an estimated $80 million price tag, according to backers who plan to eventually seek federal funding for the project.
The Greenline was initially pitched almost three years ago by developer Vince Bryant, who’s firm 3D Development has renovated several buildings in the Crossroads District and has ambitious plans for further office and retail projects in the area.
The trail, which has been compared to the BeltLine in Atlanta, would loop around downtown from the Kansas City Terminal tracks on the south, east along The Paseo, north along the riverfront and west along Beardsley Road.
Bryant has partnered with the BNIM architecture firm to refine the proposal. The Downtown Council has embraced the idea since then and established a Greenline KC committee to pursue its implementation.
So far, the Greenline proposal has received $479,000 from the city through the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) program, according to minutes kept of a Greenline KC meeting last month.
Supporters also are seeking $300,000 from the federal CMAQ (congestion mitigation and air quality) program.
Other potential funding sources for determining its feasibility are being sought by Port KC and the Columbus Park Neighborhood Association, according to the minutes.
“The overall loop plans to connect a network of trails for recreation, transit and reconnection of neighborhoods,” the minutes stated.
“Project goals include equity, accessibility, welcoming, reducing emissions through walkability, scooters and bikes.”
The latest cost estimates are $16.25 million for the north section; $11.56 million, east; $18.82 million, south, and $13.25 million, west.
“Rising costs are now closer to $80 million total,” according the committee minutes. “Being 30 percent shovel ready for the southern leg is a necessary goal to receive federal funding.”
Bryant and Jared Campbell, the Downtown Council’s point person on the Greenline committee, could not be reached for comment.
When the Greenline proposal was first presented, Bryant and Steve McDowell of BNIM compared their idea to other cities where rail corridors have been repurposed for recreational use: the High Line in New York, The Bentway in Toronto and the Atlanta BeltLine.
The BeltLine in Atlanta is transforming 22 miles of former railroad corridor land into bike and walking trails, and ultimately a streetcar line. It attracts 2 million visitors annually and has spurred $4.1 billion in redevelopment along the route, according to its website.
Greenline supporters have established a website and a branding strategy, and have been briefing neighborhood groups. It also hired Parson and Associates to send out a survey which received 400 responses, according to the minutes.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.