Riverfront Heritage Trail

The Riverfront Heritage Trail is a fully accessible fifteen-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway that begins at the riverfront and winds through the oldest and most historic parts of bi-state Kansas City. It is the first of its kind in Downtown Kansas City. It links communities, parks, and exciting destinations with unique new venues and dramatic public artworks. Most importantly, this trail serves as a hub for all the surrounding mid-town and suburban trail systems that are attempting to link up in the process of creating a metropolitan, by-state trail system. Historical markers along the Trail will create a journey through the early history of this region. As such, the Trail will enhance bi-state Kansas City’s historic, cultural and recreational treasures. The Trail will help our community gain access to our spectacular rivers, improve the community’s quality of life, enhance transportation, and improve the environment while simultaneously stimulating economic development.

Riverfront Heritage Trail Construction

The Riverfront Heritage Trail is nearing completion. It was never intended to be an area-wide trail system. Rather, it was designed to be the hub of such a system. In the process of completing this trail major urban and topological challenges had to be conquered such as crossing two rivers, scaling major bluffs, and negotiating multiple highways, railroads, and levees. The ultimate purpose was to help make all future trail construction less expensive and more efficient. Arguably, the Riverfront Heritage Trail is the very heart of the entire trail system.

The Riverfront Heritage Trail is the product of a coalition of public and private stakeholders including the City of Kansas City, Missouri; Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas; Port KC, Missouri; and Kansas City River Trails, Inc. These partners are committed to developing a high quality trail and along the way improving and beautifying the adjacent urban landscape. Along the route of the Trail considerable effort has been expended to improve infrastructure, replace barren land, and clean up or remove blight. Moreover, the Trail is designed to complement existing architectural investments. The Trail with its interpretive elements improves the value of any adjacent property and is an agent for attracting tourists and new businesses. Thus, in the final analysis, support for this Trail is a serious commitment to visibly and permanently transforming the bi-state landscape and the livability of the communities near the Trail.

Kansas City River Trails, Inc.

Kansas City River Trails, Inc. (KCRT) is a Missouri Not for Profit Corporation created to help improve project efficiency, gain funds, establish amenities, run programs, and operate and maintain the Riverfront Heritage Trail. Moreover, KCRT was designed to ensure continuity of Trail design and promote the Trail in the community. KCRT is not always in a position of authority, but is always available to assist any party with their trail efforts by communicating overall plans and intentions. To ensure that Trail goals can be accomplished, KCRT has made every effort to insure all stakeholders are represented on the Board of Directors.

Like many communities, the Kansas City region has begun to realize a well-organized trail and greenway system is a desirable amenity that can provide multiple benefits. Our region’s plan for an interconnected trail and greenway system is based on the realization of the growing need for a community wide bike and pedestrian trail system. City-wide trail plans are evolving. The Heritage Trail operates as the hub of that system.

MetroGreen offers many benefits for our region that include a transportation alternative for area residents, an opportunity to help manage our storm water more efficiently by using stream side setbacks, improving the water quality throughout the region, making stream and levee corridors safer by providing public access to them, increasing the health of our region by allowing residents more opportunities for outdoor recreation and providing an amenity to attract a highly educated workforce to the metropolitan area.

The most important part of the MetroGreen plan is at its heart, the Riverfront Heritage Trail. The Riverfront Heritage Trail is a catalyst for redevelopment of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and the Central Industrial District and downtown Kansas City, Kansas.