This just in from Brent Hugh of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation:

You’re invited to the grand opening of a new trail segment connecting KCMO and KCK.  The Freedom Trail is part of the Riverfront Heritage Trail–see details below. The grand opening features mayors of both KCMO and KCK.  Come on out and join us Thursday to celebrate!

The Opening of the Bi-State Freedom Trail and

the Commemoration of the Riverfront Heritage Trailhead

 Guests of honor:

Mayor James, Mayor Reardon

 Event Details:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Faultless Starch / Bon Ami Event Space

1009 West 8th Street

Kansas City, MO, 64101

If you’re planning to attend, RSVP to just so we have an idea of how many from the area’s bicycling community may be planning to attend.

Darby Trotter and the board of Kansas City River Trails have been working for decades to put this trail together, and the opening Thursday represents one of the most significant connections the trail has made.

The vision of the Riverfront Heritage Trail is to connect the two states–Missouri and Kansas, to connect the two communities, KCK and KCMO, to connect people to the two rivers, the Kaw and the Missouri, and their riverfront areas.  We are very close now to having a continuous trail connection now from the the Missouri Riverfront area at Berkley Park through the River Market area of KCMO and the West Bottoms to downtown Kansas City, Kansas.  A trail connection to Kaw Point is moving forward and other trail connections are possible, too.


The Freedom Trail is a bi-state project, which begins in the Strawberry Hill area of Kansas City, Kan. before crossing over the Kansas River into Missouri.

The Freedom Trail is a section of the Riverfront Heritage Trail, a fully accessible bike and pedestrian trail hub of the metropolitan trail system. It links communities, parks, destinations, historic sites, and public artworks. It begins on the riverfront just east of the Paseo Bridge and winds its way west through the oldest and most historic parts of bi-state Kansas City. The entire trail is designed to follow the earliest and most historic parts of this region.

Housed in the west bottoms, the Freedom Mall is the newest point of interest on the trail.

The only monument in the state of Missouri celebrating African Americans who escaped slavery, the Freedom Mall commemorates the years immediately preceding and during the Civil War when many slaves passed this point as they sought freedom in the new Free State of Kansas. To reach Kansas, they had to face the hurdle of the last few miles of the rugged river bottoms. For those escaping from north of the river, crossing the river was even more dangerous, as slaves were intentionally not taught to swim.

“I wish that I had known these people,” said Darby Trotter, president and CEO of the Kansas City River Trails, Inc. “To risk so much for freedom, they were true American heroes.”

The Freedom Mall displays four sculptures designed by local artist Ed Hogan. The sculptures depict a slave family as they attempt to escape into Kansas. The sculptures were previously displayed on a wall inside the Faultless Starch building.

Trotter suggested taking the sculptures off of the wall and moving them to their new home at the Freedom Mall. Here, observers are able to get a more dynamic, three-dimensional view of the work.

The sculptures are accompanied by four interpretive signs, where visitors will are to read the account of African Americans who sought freedom from slavery.

More about the trail and maps: