FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Troops and their Families are already enjoying the upgrades on two recreation areas on post -- the U.S. Army Engineer School Running Trail and Colyer Park.

After three months of work, the 2.6-mile running trail, commonly referred to as Engineer Trail, has seven new bridges and 15 new exercise stations. The trail was resurfaced and the drainage improved, plus a new section was added to the trail to avoid a steep slope.

Col. Charles Williams, Fort Leonard Wood garrison commander, uses Engineer Trail and is delighted with the makeover.

"The trail was something that has needed a facelift for years, so I'm glad we finally got after it," Williams said. "You need to go check it out."

According to Dan James, Directorate of Public Works landscape architect, the improvements not only make the trail safer and more enjoyable, but will stand up to the elements longer.

"The bridges are metal with wood floor and will not require painting. The new exercise stations are all metal and plastic edger which contains the mulch. The new surface on the trail should not erode or wash as fast," James said.

The improvements have had a positive affect on Williams' physical training experience.
He said the difference is obvious. "Like night and day. The trail was always beautiful, but it now it's like new again; even better."

The entrance for the U.S. Army Engineer School Running Trail is located behind the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence building, just off Nebraska Avenue.

A few miles down Nebraska Avenue, just passed the baseball fields, is a Family fun hot spot -- Colyer Park.

"A ramp and activities were added to two existing playgrounds," James said. "Kids with physical limitations can participate in the activities."

The wheelchair accessible playgrounds are also useful for Wounded Warriors, who may have had to miss out on the park before. Williams said the new playgrounds make Family playtime "boundless."

Taryn Silva and her three little ones don't miss a chance to enjoy Colyer Park.

"We come on sunny days, almost every day in the summer and a lot in the spring," Silva said. "I like that it is wheelchair accessible now because it's safer for my little kids to play. The ramps are easier and lower to the ground so I don't have to worry about them falling, and with the stroller, it's very convenient."

Silva said Colyer Park's location is ideal because it allows her Family more time together.

"It's close to my husband's work, so he meets us here at lunchtime," Silva said. "It's a central location for our friends to meet, too."

In addition to the Colyer Park improvements, James said a playground was added at the Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area with special needs children in mind. LORA is about 50 miles from the installation.

"The trail, the playgrounds, and the many other spaces on Fort Leonard Wood give Families many options of places to safely relax, exercise and play on Fort Leonard Wood," Williams said. "It is just very exciting to see all the improvements on Fort Leonard Wood."