There’s been talk for years about creating a path, to be used by foot or bicycles, from Andover to Augusta.
Now, a grassroots organization is working in conjunction with several other unities to turn the "Rails to Trails" path into a reality.
The Redbud Trail will follow the old railroad tracks that stretch about eight miles from north Andover to south Augusta. The plan calls for it to be a beautiful paved pathway that will eventually be connected to the Redbud Trail that leads to downtown Wichita.
Anyone interested in volunteering, or getting involved in the organization, is encouraged to call 204-8476 or emailing email@example.com. The organization also has a Facebook page under “Andover-Augusta RailTrail Initiative.”
The project was identified a priority by “Envisioning Andover,” a group of community leaders chosen to help Andover remain as progressive and relevant as possible. David Levy, an active cyclist, was part of those sessions and chose to be the organizer and spokesperson for the path project.
“Things like this don’t just happen,” Levy said. “People have to make it happen.”
In April, the grassroots organization met in the Andover Central Park Lodge to discuss the plan and challenges of such a trail. About 30 people were in attendance.
Levy describes the Redbud Trail as a long-term project and is hoping a grant will help fund it, along with private donations and other partnerships. The grassroots organization in working with the City of Andover, the Andover Historical Society, the Prairie Travelers, the Bike/Walk Alliance of Wichita and a handful of other entities.
Among those at the meeting was Ed Lincoln, a longtime trails advocate who lives in Wichita. He’s been involved in many Rails to Trails projects that continue to gain popularity across the United States.
“You go out and run on a trail two or three times and it’s just magic,” Lincoln said. “You can be in the middle of a city, but you’re running in wide open spaces – away from the traffic and peaceful. It’s just unbelievable.”
Supporters of Rails to Trails projects say that not only do they promote fitness and recreation, they also boost a city’s economy and historical roots.
“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Levy said, “and I don’t want to see us let it go.”