WARSAW NAMED AS ONE OF TWO “GREAT PLACES IN MISSOURI IN 2020”
The Great Places in Missouri program was started in 2014 to recognize neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces throughout Missouri that demonstrate exceptional character, quality, and planning that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire residents and visitors alike. The Great Places in Missouri program was modeled after APA’s Great Places in America Program that has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces around the country since 2007.
“The 2020 Great Places in Missouri set strong examples of good planning in both large and small communities,” said Jason Ray, AICP, APA Missouri President. “This year’s honorees display exciting public spaces that enable connections between people and
communities to be expanded and celebrated. Both awardees have robust planning stories with years of work to become the excellent spaces we see today. We congratulate Kansas City and Warsaw on this well-deserved recognition!”
2020 Great Places in Missouri
Downtown and Drake Harbor Recreation Area Trails (Warsaw, MO)
Downtown and Drake Harbor Recreation Area Trails in Warsaw, Missouri is honored as a Great Public Space in Missouri. This charming downtown area and nine miles of trails creates a recreational haven for residents and visitors alike. Beginning with a Downtown Revitalization Pan in 1997, Warsaw has experienced over twenty-years of continuous planning and improvement. Progressive planning efforts such as a 2003 ADA Transition Plan, 2006 Trail Master Plan, and more recently the 2015 update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan-Building on Success to Capitalize on the Future, provide clear examples for other communities to follow. Following the four P’s: Planning, Partnerships, Personnel, and Public Input, planning was the integral key to over $17.8 million in federal, state, and local investment, with nearly $9 million in downtown and recreation area improvements. The downtown enhancements, combined with improvements to the boat access, led to more businesses in part because of the increased opportunity of water and land customers. Visitors also flock to the numerous annual events hosted in the downtown or recreational areas, such as Jubilee Days, the Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival, and Heritage Days which draws crowds of over 10,000. With so much success tied to strong planning efforts, it is no surprise that Warsaw was named one of the 12 best communities in the nation by the National Complete Streets Coalition and received the 2019 Governors Tourism Award for Innovation. Continued persistence and good planning guarantee that downtown Warsaw and Drake Harbor Recreation Area Trails continue to provide a quality public
space for all to enjoy.
“Megan Clark, Chapter Administrator, APA Missouri, said that the review committee was very impressed in the amount of planning and implementation that we have achieved over a long period of time,” said Pogue. “The APA received many nominations for this
honor, but only two were selected. This award makes a powerful statement that Warsaw is a great place to live and visit.”
Warsaw’s Downtown Revitalization Plan started in 1997 when the first boat courtesy slips were installed in Drake Harbor, along with the first section of the River Trails. Other highlights of the past 20 years include the 2001 downtown Main Street renovation and
opening of Truman Lake Mountain Bike Park in 2008. In 2009, Warsaw Riverfront Trails Phase II began, and in 2010, work began on Steamboat Landing in Drake Harbor. Last year, the Butterfield Stage Experience was created as the premier bike packing and
gravel road riding route through Missouri.
The APA news release described notable progressive planning efforts in Warsaw such as a 2003 ADA Transition Plan, 2006 Trail Master Plan, and more recently the 2015 update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan – Building on Success to Capitalize on the Future, that provide clear examples for other communities to follow. Planning,Partnerships, Personnel and Public Input were all part of Warsaw’s success, but planning was the integral key to over $17.8 million in federal, state, and local investment, with nearly $9 million in downtown and recreation area improvements.
Warsaw’s downtown enhancements, combined with improvements to the boat access, led to more businesses in part because of the increased opportunity of water and land customers.
APA complemented Warsaw on its numerous visitors who flock to the annual events hosted in the downtown or recreational areas, such as Jubilee Days, the Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival, and Heritage Days which draws crowds of over 10,000. APA reported that it no surprise that Warsaw has been named one of the 12 best communities in the nation (2018) by the National Complete Streets Coalition, and received the 2019 Governor’s Tourism Award for Innovation. Warsaw was also a winner of the national 2018 Tom Petri Annual Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds. The current “Great Places in Missouri in 2020” recognition for Warsaw is the fourth award the City has received in the past two years.
“During the last ten years, our planning and redevelopment have gained momentum,” said Mayor Simons. “And there is still more to come. Randy Pogue does a great job of saying what needs to be done and completing one project before going to another one.
We do what we say we are going to do. Special recognition should also go to the Board of Aldermen. We have been lucky enough to be part of the board that sees a future. We have good discussions and our projects fit the finances that are available. The members
are forward thinking and want to push Warsaw as a place that people want to come to at the end of the day.”
“Special recognition also goes to City employees who provide the physical portion of many of the trails,” said Pogue. “We have other endeavors ahead including improvement of main thoroughfares, especially Main Street to Hwy 65. And, we want to complete what we started on Main Street from Seminary to Hwy 7 that included putting in new sidewalks, lights, curbs and gutters for storm water between Seminary and Ferry, and additional street parking. We completed the East side, and will work on the West side as we get funding.”
About Benton County Tourism & Recreation
Benton County Tourism & Recreation is a non-profit organization which promotes tourism in Benton County, MO. To learn more about Warsaw and Benton County, visit www.visitbentoncomo.com or call us at 660-438-2090.
About the City of Warsaw
Warsaw has a population of 2,177 full-time residents. Nestled between two scenic lakes, Truman Lake and Lake of the Ozarks, Warsaw offers visitors a variety of things to see and do. Nature is our backdrop for many of the activities from fishing, hunting, and
camping, to hiking, biking, and recreational sports programs. Our residents are proud of our rich history, dating back to the 1700s when the Delaware, Shawnee, Sac, Kickapoo, and Osage tribes roamed our land. It is our pleasure to welcome you to Warsaw.
To learn more about Warsaw, visit www.welcometowarsaw.com or call 660-438-5522.
WARSAW NAMED AS ONE OF TWO “GREAT PLACES IN MISSOURI IN 2020”