Lake Miola trails project to begin

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

By Brian McCauley

Paola Pathways is at it again, as work is set to begin next month on the group’s newest phase, which involves surrounding Lake Miola with an 8-foot limestone trail for pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy.

The lake phase is expected to span three years, and it will add six new miles of trail — tripling the distance of the city’s existing trail system. Trails already have been built through the woods at Wallace Park.

“Since we rely on the in-kind contribution of manpower and equipment from the city of Paola Public Works Department to actually build the trail, work will begin after the crew’s normal street and sidewalk projects are completed each year,” task force member Peg Wieland said. “Therefore, trail construction will only occur during the late fall and winter months.”

This fall, residents will see the installation of two 1.5-mile sections of trail take shape — one on the west side and one on the east side in the more open, relatively treeless areas around Lake Miola.

Next November, work will focus on connecting the first sections by cutting through the wooded area around the north end. The final stage of the proposed route will be completed during the winter of 2016-17, with trail on the south end below the dam, according to a news release.

Based on the cost of Phase 1, the task force has set a goal of raising $60,000 to complete the project around Lake Miola. That equates to $10,000 per mile of trail surface only. Meeting this goal would allow the group to apply for additional matching state grants, which would cover the costs for five trailhead kiosks, a footbridge, various sizes and quantities of drainage pipes, paving and striping of some parking lots and trash/recycling receptacles, according to the release.

The city already has received a $30,000 matching grant from the Sunflower Foundation for the lake trails project, and Paola Pathways is planning a fundraising campaign to generate the required matching community revenue.

The Paola community embraced the first phase of the project by supporting both a fundraising campaign in 2012 and the inaugural Pathways 5k run/walk on the first three miles of trail last spring. Since then, users have logged thousands of miles on the trails.

In recent months, Citizens State Bank and Crown Realty have each pledged to add an additional $7,500 over the next four years to their original $2,500 donations to fund “a mile’s worth of trail” at Lake Miola. To date, four of the five kiosks at the lake will have trail sponsors, according to the release.

To keep the project moving forward, the task force is launching a fundraising campaign for Lake Miola trails on Nov. 1. Because donations as well as Pathways 5k proceeds all go toward building new trail, the group is streamlining their fundraising efforts into one solicitation with two options.

“In order to continue the wonderful momentum that the community has created for the trails, we are offering businesses and organizations the option to receive recognition either as a Pathways 5k sponsor or having their name displayed on the permanent donors’ list at all five kiosks,” Paola Pathways treasurer Mark Fuchs said. “Both methods benefit trail development, with the race sponsorship providing additional advertising value that specifically targets the attractive demographic of families and active trail users.”

Individual recognition remains the same, with donors contributing $100 or more to the lake phase having their name included on the permanent donor lists. As in Wallace Park, the trailheads will feature a kiosk and a patio of brick pavers.

Personalized engraved pavers with individual names, place of business or in memory of a loved one can be ordered for a $50 contribution. Donors are given the option of having their brick installed at Wallace Park or Lake Miola, according to the release.

To receive a full explanation of the Lake Miola trails business campaign, an appointment can be scheduled with a task force member by contacting Fuchs at (913) 731-8165, or by email at paolapathways@gmail.com.

Those interested in learning more about the trail system can visit www.paolapathways.org. The second annual Pathways 5k is already set for March 28, 2015.