Pony Express Park and Railbed Pedestrian-Bicycle Path

Project Description

Schwab Eaton worked with the City of Marysville to prepare a master plan and design drawings for the redevelopment of an abandoned rail line. The project has greatly improved the area, transforming a blighted corridor that divided the city into a series of public spaces that has given the community a place to celebrate. The key elements of the design are Pony Express Park, Town Center Plaza, and the Railbed Pedestrian-Bicycle Path. 

Pony Express Park provides a unique place for visitors to experience a piece of Marysville history. The park features a life-size bronze sculpture of a Pony Express rider, limestone seat walls, and native prairie plants. Two Lifetiles murals feature a Pony Express rider galloping across the prairie and a steam locomotive that transforms into a modern diesel engine. As visitors walk in front of the murals, the images spring to life and appear to move. These murals are the only artwork of their kind in Kansas. A wagon wheel paving motif at the intersection provides a decorative, at-grade crossing for people to walk from the park to the Town Center Plaza across Broadway Street.

Town Center Plaza, in the heart of downtown, serves as a place for community festivals and impromptu gatherings. One block of 7th Street was redeveloped as a boulevard to better accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles. A 10' wide concrete bicycle path is located in the center of the corridor. Landscaping and brick pavers line either side of the path, and decorative lighting, bollards, and site furnishings complete the public space. Vehicles can travel north and south-bound on the newly constructed concrete streets on either side of the path. Maintaining parking spaces for nearby businesses and senior center were critical factors in gaining public acceptance of the design.

The project was designed and constructed over a period of seven years using private donations, sales tax dollars, and TEA-21 funds through the Kansas Department of Transportation.