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      FLATS members outline phase one progress

      It is two laps forward in the jog to finish the Forest Lake Area Trail System (FLATS), which will eventually connect Thousand Hills State Park and the city of Kirksville.

      Members of the FLATS committee met with Adair County Commissioners Tuesday to update them on their process in completing phase one of the project.

      Currently, they are going through the bidding process for bridge materials, and shortly, a concrete bid as well.

      â??We're very eager to get the trail contractors who work for the state and the bridge builders in town,â?? FLATS Co-chair Dan Martin said. â??The hope is that before 2012 goes byâ?|we will have design work for phase two, all the survey work for phase two done, and we'll have phase one complete from the Marina to the Petroglyphs site.â??

      Co-chair Royce Kallerud said they are racing the clock to get construction going while the weather is good.

      â??We need to keep things moving and that's what we're working on,â?? Kallerud said. â??And, that's what we wanted the county to know exactly where we were, because these things just work better when everyone knows whatâ??s going on.â??

      Kallerud said a lot of the planning depends on the available grant dollars.

      â??The RTP grant for instance, can be used to build trails, not sidewalks,â?? Kallerud said. â??So, the pieces fit together really well for that, and thatâ??s how the grants tend to work.â??

      Both said they are very grateful for the community support and the outpouring of volunteers who have helped.

      â??For Royce and (me) itâ??s our first time through the sort of a process,â?? Martin said. â??The people from the Department of Natural Resources are wonderful to work with, but they have a lot of projects in the hopper and this is our baby. And, we're discovering a few things we didnâ??t know and were working our way through it. I do believe once we get through phase one, the next couple of phases weâ??ll have a bit of a learning curve that (weâ??ve) climbed and I think we'll have a better idea of where we are headed.â??

      The members told the commission they are applying for a MoDOT grant as well.

      Co-chair Royce Kallerud said they are really looking forward to moving from the behind the scenes work to people being able to enjoy the park and take their kids and ride their bikes on the trail.