Property owners provide input on MoPac Trail connection

March 8, 2024, 6 a.m. ·

The MoPac Trail ends near South Bend, Nebraska. Cyclists continuing toward Lincoln use an interim route along gravel roads in Cass County before reconnecting with the trail near Wabash. (Photo by Brian Beach, Nebraska Public Media News)

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A recreation trail connecting Lincoln and Omaha continues to move through the planning process, with the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District seeking input to determine a proposed route.

In 2022, the Nebraska Legislature allocated $8.3 million dollars to connect two segments of the MoPac Trail in rural Cass County.

Currently, the western portion of the trail ends in the village of Wabash, while the eastern section ends near South Bend, leaving an 8-mile gap.

The interim connection route runs along 334th Street, but local residents say the road is not safe for cyclists.

The interim route connecting the MoPac Trail follows 334th Street, but some local residents say it is unsafe and unpleasant for cyclists. (Map courtesy of JEO Consulting Group)

At a public meeting on Thursday, Marie Gregoire, an avid trail user who has lived near Wabash for 37 years, said connecting the trails could boost the local economy by bringing in more bike tourism.

“This will contribute to our school tax base, our healthy schools that we already have, and those are all very, very positive things for members of the community,” she said.

Tony Niedert, a property owner in South Bend, said he moved to the area for peace and quiet and wants to make sure the new trail doesn’t change that.

“I hope we don't see a lot of trash and garbage, a lot of people being disrespectful to the landowners and property owners and just being plain old jerks,” he said.

Will Inselman with the Lower Platte South NRD said the next step is coming up with four route proposals.

“We've kind of decided that four routes would give us plenty of alternatives to kind of talk through and discuss and really hone in later in this process when we meet back with the landowners and other interested constituents,” he said.

The Lower Platte NRD plans to present the route alternatives to the public this summer and garner additional feedback.