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Last leg of Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Trail moves forward

The last section of the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Trail is moving forward.

At its meeting on Nov. 16, the Chesterfield City Council approved a $101,000 agreement with the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee District for grading work to construct phase 6 of the levee trail. The cost will be entirely funded through the Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District and not the city.

The last remaining section of the levee trail extends from Interstate 64 north and west to the current end of the trail near Topgolf.

Final section of Monarch Levee Trail (Source: City of Chesterfield)

Phase 6 completes the levee trail and allows trail users to travel on or near the levee from Long Road (near Edison Avenue) to Centaur Road. More importantly, it further improves the levee protecting Chesterfield Valley, according to Jim Eckrich, Chesterfield’s director of public works.

For some time, the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee District has been planning a project to improve the levee by widening it by approximately 10 feet in the area. The levee district is now ready to move forward with its project and has authorized a construction contract with Kuesel Excavating, Eckrich said.

To construct the trail, the levee district has incorporated the grading portion of the city’s plans for the trail into its drawings for the levee improvement project. This will save the city time and costs associated with additional permitting and administration of a separate grading contract.

“It prevents us from having to separately buy fill material, separately design, separately permit and separately pay for it,” City Administrator Mike Geisel explained.

The trail will be part of the Missouri Greenway and will complete a 17-mile loop encircling Chesterfield Valley. According to the Great Rivers Greenway, the master plan for the Missouri Greenway is a 55-river-mile corridor that begins at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and runs west to Boone’s Crossing in Chesterfield. The greenway will connect to the Mississippi Greenway, Sunset Greenway, Centennial Greenway, Fee Fee Greenway and Western Greenway; linking the communities of Chesterfield, Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, Hazelwood, Florissant and Spanish Lake.

“Ultimately, it will connect to the North County Greenway if Maryland Heights can get their section done, but it also connects to the Katy Trail, because we have that connection across the Boone Bridge as well,” Geisel said.

Monarch Chesterfield Levee (Source: Great Rivers Greenway)

Completing phase 6 of the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Trail will require easements from underlying property owners.

The major property owner in the area has previously indicated that he opposes the trail on his property and will not grant an easement for trail purposes, as he objects to people walking and biking on the trail that would pass in close proximity to his home, Eckrich said.

One solution to distancing the trail from a local home owner is dropping the trail in that area to the river bench. (Source: City of Chesterfield)

Eckrich suggested that the city could either place the trail on top of the levee or construct ramps necessary to “drop” the trail onto the riverside bench.

If the trail is dropped to the riverside bench in that area, it would be about 15 feet below the top of the levee, with the levee serving as a buffer between the trail and the property owner’s home.

“Either action is likely to require condemnation,” Eckrich said.

Some council members expressed concern about the use of condemnation to secure property rights; however, the body unanimously approved the agreement.

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