After five years of work, the rails to trails project from 11th and Broadway streets to First and Georgia streets will soon be complete. Although the project isn’t quite done, workers say there is already traffic on the newly formed walking and biking trail.

After five years of work, the rails to trails project from 11th and Broadway streets to First and Georgia streets will soon be complete. Although the project isn’t quite done, workers say there is already traffic on the newly formed walking and biking trail.

The trail covers a stretch of abandoned rail line and the project has been years in the making, through obtaining right-of-way to finding grants from such organizations as the Skubitz Foundation, the Sunflower Foundation and the Pritchett Trust. The actual construction began in the late summer, and officials say the project will soon be done.

“I’d say we’re still three to four weeks out as far as everything being done over there,” said Bill Beasley, Pittsburg director of public works, on Oct. 14. “As far as city involvement, we would be two weeks out with all we have planned to do.”

As for the city’s involvement, the parking lot adjacent to the trailhead has been completed and signs are posted. But that doesn’t mean the city is taking the bite on the cost.

“There’s some labor being used, but there are no city funds involved,” Beasley said. “All the costs came from the contributions of land, talent and funds. At some point, we will get together everyone involved.”

The trailhead area was designed by students at Pittsburg State, and the land there was donated by Pepsi. At one point, there were plans to build a bathroom facility in the designs created by the PSU students. However, the bathrooms will not be built at this time.

“We told the students to think far enough in the future, that if it took off, if we needed bathrooms in the future, we could place one,” Beasley said. “We have no plans at this time for bathrooms. We have the possibility of some amenities, like a flagpole or an art sculpture. But that’s all stuff in the future, if someone wants to do that at some point.”

Some work will be done by Pittsburg Beautiful and local Boy Scouts to landscape and clean up the area surrounding the trail, but much of the plantings may have to wait until the spring. Leaders say a power line will also likely be removed from the trailhead area.

“It’s a project that’s been talked about for a while,” said Jacob Reagan, city engineering technician involved in the project. “It’ll really help the downtown. This area has been an eyesore for years. There’ve been storage containers here. It was delapidated. Now, it’ll be pretty. It’ll improve the entrance to downtown a lot.”

The trail is already getting some use.

“I know a lot of younger students in junior high and elementary school are using it and waling it,” Beasley said. “I don’t know if they’re walking to Westside or Pittsburg Community Middle School, but they are using it. There’s been a spike in a few adults using it, too.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.