The Sedalia Animal Shelter has received a $50,000 grant to complete phase two of the Prairie Queen Walk and Wheels Trail Project. 

City officials, members of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, Sedalia Animal Shelter employees and other invested individuals attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning at the shelter to kick off phase two.

“We’re here today just to celebrate that (the grant) and the fact that this wonderful area and this building is here…When I was a kid this was basically a void area, there was nothing here. This is great,” Mayor John Kehde said in his speech. 

The shelter has received a $50,000 Non-playground Scrap Tire Material Grant award from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Solid Waste Management Program to use for phase two of the trail project. The shelter also received the grant last year for phase one. 

The trail is located in the empty acreage between the Sedalia Animal Shelter and East 24th Street and is a joint effort between city administration, the shelter, and the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department. 

The first portion of the trail was laid in April and consisted of 982 feet. The trail is made of recycled tires that were bought through a company that cuts scrap tires into little pieces to make a mulch. A 50-pound bag of tire mulch and five gallons of environmentally-friendly binder are put in a mixer, then put down to make the path. The second phase of the trail will also be made of this material. 

The original plan was to have the second phase in a track shape with an outdoor classroom in the middle, but Shelter Manager Randi Battson and other involved parties felt there were other places where people could walk on tracks like it. 

The new plan is to extend the current trail towards East 24th Street, across from Centennial Park. Parks and Rec is hoping to build another dog park there, and Battson said she felt it would be a good location to take the trail. Battson said the length of the second phase will depend on the bids that they receive. She said she does not have an exact timeline yet for phase two completion but requests for bids have been made.

“I didn't want it just be out there (by the shelter) when our end goal is to take it to the dog park. We really want to get a new dog park in Sedalia,” said Battson.

“I feel like that location for it, off of 24th Street, is a really good location because your kids can be playing baseball, basketball, and you can take your dog right there...We decided to change it up. That was the new plan, to wrap it around as close as we could get it to the new dog park. That way from the get-go there is a purpose to the trail.”

If the city is approved for the grant again next year, the plan is to extend the trail further and add an outdoor classroom for kids near the dog park. Other ideas include adding pollination centers, prairie landscaping, gazebos, and benches. 

“I’m hoping that this will be like a living memorial for some people,” Battson said. “We get a lot of people that say that ‘We want to donate to the animal shelter what can we do?’ I’m hoping that after this trail park is complete with all of the tires and we know where the trail is going to go we can say, ‘You know what I’m so sorry that your mother passed away. Would you like to donate a tree in her honor or would you like to donate a park bench?’”

Battson said the shelter staff is already utilizing the first phase of the trail and they are excited about the extension. 

“This has been awesome because our volunteers love it. They come out and they use it. The Be a Good Dog University that comes here uses it a lot,” she said. “Even though it's not complete until that bridge is done, and even though the landscaping isn’t here yet, it has been super helpful already.”  

The Parks Department will build a connecting bridge and take care of the landscaping to finish the first phase. Battson said she hopes the community will use it more once completed. The Parks Department will also do the landscaping for the rest of the project. 

City Reporter

Emily Walton is the city reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering local government and various city departments.

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