JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 14, 2019 – The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has approved a request submitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Central Railroad seeking an additional 133 days to negotiate an agreement to railbank 144 miles of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad corridor stretching from Windsor to Beaufort, Missouri.
"This will allow the time for potential partnerships to be explored and developed by the Missouri State Parks Foundation," said Mike Sutherland, deputy division director of Missouri State Parks. "We are glad the Surface Transportation Board has granted the time to fully explore interest."
The extension request emphasized the creation of the Rock Island Trail State Park Endowment Fund, which allows deposited funds to be used by the Department in securing and assessing the corridor. The Missouri State Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization established for the purpose of supporting the Missouri state park system, is developing a fundraising strategy for the project, but requires time to finalize those plans. The request reiterated that Missouri State Parks and the Missouri Central Railroad Company are working toward the goal of signing an Interim Trail Use Agreement in the future.
"We are excited for the Missouri State Park Foundation to take a role in developing support for the project," said Dru Buntin, deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources. "The foundation will be critical in bringing together the non-governmental partners that an undertaking of this size will require."
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Central Railroad Company now have until Dec. 31, 2019, to enter into an Interim Trail Use Agreement and provide notice of that agreement to the Surface Transportation Board.
For more information about Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, visit the web at https://mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.