Central Kansas Conservancy recently received a $70,000 anonymous donation that will help complete the final stretch of the Meadowlark Trail, which runs between McPherson and Lindsborg.

“There has been great community support for this project. There has been much progress building miles of this trail (Meadowlark) in the past few years and we want to continue that momentum,” said Michele Cullen, president of the board of directors for Central Kansas Conservancy.

With this new donation, the nonprofit organization’s leader says they hope to have the section of trail between Pawnee and Pioneer Roads completed before the end of the year, Cullen said.

“We will then focus on completing the development of the last four miles between Pioneer and Shawnee. When this four miles are complete, we will have a 12-mile trail to use between McPherson and Lindsborg,” she said.

Much of the trail has been completed with donations and grant funds.

“This is not a project funded by the city or county of McPherson. We’ve also had a lot of volunteers helping in the preparations of sections of trail and the final stages of development. We rely on volunteer help for general maintenance,” she said.

So far, building the final stages of the trail has cost about $30,000 per mile — not including bridges.

“Of course, like everything, construction costs continually increase,” she said.

McPherson and McPherson County offer beautiful scenery and the addition of the trail will provide residents a chance to embrace it.

“Recreational trails bring economic benefits to communities around them. They attract visitors who use trails and these visitors may be in our community for a few hours or may choose to spend an evening or two exploring the areas. They also promote a healthy lifestyle by providing safe environments for walking, running and biking. It’s great to be out on the trail and see so many people using it without the worry of vehicle traffic,” Cullen said.

Cullen said the group couldn’t be more thankful for the gift — and the opportunity to finish the trail for the community.

“We are so grateful for this donation. There are many other opportunities for donations whether its a monetary donation or a sharing of time and skills.... (they) are greatly appreciated.”

The nonprofit has a GoFundMe campaign set up to replace a bridge that was lost in a suspicious fire last August. That bridge will cost approximately $137,000 to replace, Culled said.

For more information, visit Gofundme.com/MeadowlarkTrail or visit their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/CentralKansasTrails.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.