About Us

What is Paola Pathways?

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Paola Pathways is a multi-use trails system connecting the community of Paola, Kansas. Developed by a diverse task force, financed by generous donations from individuals and businesses, and managed by the City of Paola, the system links key locations throughout the city, especially schools, parks, and recreational facilities. Trails include a variety of surfaces and distances designed for walkers, runners, and bicyclists.

Mission Statement

To improve the quality of life and general appeal of Paola by promoting the development of safe, high-quality trails and lanes connecting points of interest within the community.

Benefits of a Trail System

Multi-use trails and on-road bicycle lanes offer communities a means of safe and convenient transportation by connecting neighborhoods to schools, workplaces and cultural centers, historic sites, and other places of interest. Other benefits include:

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Health

Trails and bike lanes provide a safe, inexpensive, and convenient avenue for regular exercise.

 
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Economic

Trails increase property values as close proximity to trailheads is a priority sought by prospective buyers. Trails also improve the local economy through tourism and civic improvement.

 
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Environmental

Nearly 50% of all personal travel trips are fewer than three miles long. The use of trails and lanes can replace vehicles for these shorter trips to school, work, or the store.

 
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Social

Trails act as linear parks that connect the key points of a community and foster community involvement and pride. They are accessible to all ages and income levels. 

 


History & Progress

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Phase 1 – Trails in Wallace Park (2013 - 2014)

This first phase of Paola Pathways’ construction consists of more than 3.5 miles of trails and lanes in and near Wallace Park. A portion of trail also runs along Miami County Fairground property.

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The City of Paola’s Public Works Department broke ground in September 2013, donating in-kind manpower and equipment services to the trails’ construction.

On June 13, 2014, the task force officially dedicated the inaugural trails of Paola Pathways to the citizens of Paola. These trails include: 

  • Bull Creek Trail – sponsored by The Baehr Foundation; First Option Bank, Trustee

  • Rock Stadium Trail – sponsored by First Option Bank

  • Park View Trail – sponsored by Miami County Medical Center

 

Phase 2 – Lake Miola Trail (2014 - present)

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Work began on the second phase of the trail system — a trail that would encompass Lake Miola — in September 2014. This seven-mile trail under construction around Lake Miola offers breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets, shaded sections through the timber, and areas that provide users with cool lake breezes. Six trailheads denote the businesses, organizations, or individuals who have donated “a mile’s worth of trail.”

  • West Miola Trailhead – sponsored by Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co.

  • Pirate Ship Trailhead – sponsored by Carl & Mary Buchman

  • North Woods Trailhead – sponsored by Crown Realty of KS, Inc.

  • Lakeview Trailhead – sponsored by The Baehr Foundation, First Option Bank Trustee

  • East Miola Trailhead – sponsored by Security Bank of KC

  • South Woods Trailhead – sponsored by Steff Strong (in memory of Stephanie Knecht)

 

Asphalt Connector – Panther Trail (2015)

In a joint effort with the City of Paola, Unified School District 368, and Lighthouse Presbyterian Church, the .75-mile Panther Trail was constructed in 2015 — complete with panther tracks indicating the centerline. The Panther Trail, extending along Hedge Lane from Panther Drive to Industrial Park Drive, is an eight-foot asphalt trail that connects our community with a safe, off-road option for students to ride bikes and/or walk to school campuses.

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Task Force

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In 2011, the Paola City Council appointed a diverse community task force to develop a master plan for a pedestrian/bicycle trail system. Today, the Paola Pathways Task Force serves as an advisory body to the Council and is responsible for trail design, amenities, signage, fundraising, grant writing, promotion, and community outreach.

Current Members

  • Kendra Aistrup

  • Mark Fuchs

  • Bob Gregory

  • Pat Hewitt

  • Lacey Kane

  • Brad Kinaman

  • Ty McBride

  • Jim Pritchard

  • Kirk Rees

  • Vince Ryszewski

  • Randi Shannon

  • Dave Smail

  • Peg Wieland


Partners

Paola Pathways is made possible with the support of numerous organizations and individuals. Check out our partners — and become one yourself!

 
We were excited when the concept of walking trails was first introduced. It was our pleasure to donate initially to begin construction, and we continue to support the trail system annually. They are certainly an asset to the Paola community.”
— Steve & Cheri Cowman, Paola residents