Almost a year ago, the State of Missouri and City of Jefferson City approved the building of a controversial pedestrian walkway across the Missouri River. Why controversial? The price tag of $6.7 million, versus the benefit. There were those who hailed it as a way to bring additional traffic into Jefferson City, “enhancing state and local tourism and the economy”. There were others who declared it was essential for the safety of bikers and hikers who wanted to get from the KATY Trail into the city. Those who declared it was a luxury that could not be afforded during these hard times did not have a very loud voice. The walkway opened to great fanfare in March of this year.
My opinion is that this is a perfect example of those who have, getting more, and those with little, losing out. They who have, had the lobbyists, they had the private donors, and they had the desire for a luxury. So they got it. It is ludicrous to point to tourism and the economy in these hard times as a way of justifying spending $6.7 on a non essential project.
But build the walkway they did. And as the old saying, “build it and they will come” goes… they built it and we checked it out. I may be against something, but once it happens anyway, I’m not one to refuse to check it out. I tried to keep an open mind.
So here is what I found:
The new pedestrian walk way is a great way to spend a sunny Spring afternoon with Grandkids.
The view is unique – allowing us to stop and look across the river in an area that otherwise would have been impossible.
It is safe. The heavy chain link gave this scaredy cat a sense of security. We even allowed Allen and Reagen to run off some of their pent up energy, while we followed at a more sedate pace.
Although safe, my mind did take a moment to dwell on the convenience it might provide to someone wanting to do harm to themselves. It would not be that difficult to scale the 4 1/2 to 5 foot fence. But those dangers are around every bend of life.
It was noisy and almost scary at times. The traffic is only a few feet away and some of the big rigs are downright threatening sounding.
It will not bring much, if any, economy to the area. Most individuals walking the trail were recognizable as locals. They were beginning at one end – walking across – and then turning back. We waved at them each way. The bicyclists were doing the same thing. I wonder if anyone will bother to do a trumped up study to determine the increased tourism the bridge
Although I enjoyed the walk, it wasn’t special enough to do a second time, unless other grandkids are interested in taking the walk with us.
How could $7.5 million have been put to better use? Let me count the ways… they are too numerous to even begin listing. The walkway is a sad testimony to the priorities of some of our society today – not all, but some.
On the bright side, though, we had a great day with Reagan and Allen while their mom and dad got away to celebrate their 13th anniversary.
The rain is back this evening. I refused to whine and complain. Nope, won’t whine and complain. Dang I’m tired of shivering!