UMSL's new bike trail opened Thursday with an official ribbon cutting led by (from left) Great Rivers Greenway Executive Director Susan Trautman, St. Louis County Councilman Patrick Dolan, UM System Curator Wayne Goode, St. Louis County Parks Department Acting Director Tom Ott, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, Cool Valley, Mo., Mayor Viola Murphy, Greendale, Mo., Mayor Monica Huddleston, UMSL Chancellor Tom George, Missouri Department of Heath and Senior Services Director Margaret Donnelly, UMSL Special Assistant to the Provest Betty Van Uum, Normandy, Mo., Mayor Patrick Green, North County Inc. Executive Director Rebecca Zohl and Jackie Carr, representing St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby. (Photo by Jack Crosby)

Sunshine, ice cream, balloons and bicycles created a festive air to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Great Rivers Greenway trail Thursday.

The trail connects the existing cross-campus St. Vincent Greenway Trail with the Ted Jones Trail on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus. Construction of the new trail began April 30 and includes an underpass running east under Arnold B. Grobman Drive and continuing east behind the north and south Millennium Student Center garages.

“Whenever we can make a link like this one where we connect communities, it makes the greenway more powerful,” Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway, told the crowd.

More than 50 people gathered at the Wayne Goode statue near the Millennium Student Center. Among the many local and state officials was Goode, curator of the University of Missouri System; Charlie Dooley, St. Louis County Executive; and Patrick Dolan, St. Louis County Council member.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George thanked GRG and everyone who made the trail possible. He called the completion of the trail a timely event especially for UMSL’s faculty, students and staff.

“This campus went tobacco-free on Jan. 1, our students approved construction of a new wellness and fitness center and we now have this trail to help us all stay healthy and fit,” George said.

Monica Huddleston, mayor of Greendale, Mo., a GRG board member and avid bicyclist, came dressed in bike gear and helmet. She hopped on her bike to pose for the official photo.

Once the ribbon was cut, participants rode along the trail on golf carts and bicycles provided by Gateway Golf Carts, Ferguson Bicycle Shop and Live Well Ferguson. Kona Ice gave away free shaved ice and ice cream treats.

The Coca-Cola Company sponsored a bike giveaway for students. The winner was Kaitlin Knox, a senior majoring in special education.

GRG, which has 104 miles of connected trails in the St. Louis region, funded the $1.3 million project. UMSL will now operate and maintain the new trail.

GRG is a public organization established in November 2000 with the passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Initiative in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The organization is developing an interconnected system of trails in greenways to make the region a better place to live.

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

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