By ERIC X. VICCARO
During the past couple of months, stakeholders throughout the city have met with the a representative from the federal RTCA.
The RTCA is the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, which supports community-based outdoor recreation projects.
The organization has planning professionals that partner with community groups, nonprofits and local governments to design trails and parks with the goal of best using natural resources.
According to the website, stewardslegacy.com/rtca, it helps communities improve access points to rivers while protecting special places and creating additional recreation opportunities.
The most recent Zoom teleconference took place on Tuesday, May 4.
“We want to get all the players around the table,” said Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park superintendent Chris Collins regarding a possible future trail project. “We are trying to get groups together, and have a vision for what the town’s planning.”
Collins said a meeting in April served as a mere introduction to the community, spearheaded by Ashley Newson with the RTCA.
Outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation planner Mike Mencarini also participated in the gathering, lending his expertise.
Collins said the ultimate goal would be to create a trail or a network of trails between buildings the National Park Service currently owns.
Locally, the NPS has the recently conveyed Welcome Center (shared with the city of Ste. Genevieve), the Jean Baptiste Valle House, Beauvais Amoureux House and theDelassus-Kern House — the last located on US Highway 61, just south of Ste. Genevieve.
Groups are currently studying the feasibility of putting together a trail system, and more people were brought on board during the May teleconference.
The May teleconference featured park planners Nick and Mary Donze, who recently produced a 50-page plus master plan for Pere Marquette Park, Kim Gordon with the Friends of Hawn and Hank Johnson from Chaumette Winery and the Bequette-Ribault House.
Also in attendance via Zoom were park board aldermanic representative Ashley Armbruster, city administrator Happy Welch, Ste. Genevieve County Library director Shawn Long and Ste. Genevieve County Community Center executive director Brad Arnold.
“They are trying to get as many groups as possible involved in the process,” said Ste. Genevieve tourism director Toby Carrig.
Any proposed trail system would benefit the natural, historical, cultural and recreational resources the city has to offer.
The trails would be mainly for biking and pedestrian traffic. Carrig reported the goal is to have some sort of “plan in place” by the end of the year, with meetings taking place on a monthly basis.
Tour traffic has been picking up in the downtown, most notably among school groups from across the region.
The next scheduled workshop is set for Monday, June 14, Carrig noted.