Gateway Design Studio Celebrates Completion of Phase 1 of the Cotton Belt Trail in Sikeston, Missouri


Phase 1 of Master Plan converted the former Union Pacific Railroad rail corridor into city-operated recreational trail facility

Gateway Design Studio, LLC – a professional planning, landscape architectural and environmental design firm located in St. Louis – is celebrating the completion of the first phase of the Cotton Belt Trail in Sikeston, Missouri.

In 2016 the City of Sikeston desired the development of a master plan for the conversion of the former Union Pacific Railroad rail corridor into a city operated recreational trail facility.

As the lead project planner, Gateway Design Studio – along with St. Louis-based The i5 Group – prepared the Comprehensive Trail Master Plan for the City back in summer/fall of 2016. GDS then teamed with Water’s Engineering (Sikeston, MO) to do the design/engineering drawings for Phase 1 in 2017 – 2018. Phase 1 of the trail was completed this summer.

Gateway Design Studio, LLC and The i5 Group developed Phase 1 of the Master Plan creating a vision for the trail as an important link to the City’s downtown district and neighborhoods. The team examined existing conditions, developed a phasing plan, conceptual trail options and cost estimates. Public engagement was part of the scope which included stakeholder meetings and open houses.

The project goal was to develop a multi-use recreational trail that links to nearby existing businesses, residential, park and trail systems, beautifying this corridor adjacent to one of the main thoroughfares through the city. The plan’s estimated cost for Phase 1 was $378,000.

Phase 1 improvements included the design and construction of approximately 3,300 linear feet or .62 miles of multi-use trail. Encompassed in the improvements are main trailheads at the historic Sikeston Depot and at the Main Street intersection terminus:

          KEY ELEMENTS

  • 3,300 L.F. Trail Section
  • Historic Preservation
  • Intersection Crosswalk Design
  • ADA accessibility
  • Trail Head Design
  • Signage/Wayfinding
  • Landscape Improvement Guidelines
  • Storm Water Management 


Design Studio’s design and specification of trail system elements included:

  • Conceptual and Preliminary Trail Alignment
  • Landscape Improvements
  • Site furniture (Benches, Trash Receptacles, Water Fountains, Bike Racks)
  • Information Kiosk and Trailhead Monument Signage
  • Ornamental Fencing 


  • 79 new trees were planted along the Trail, which included Missouri native and drought tolerant species
  • The Historic Train Depot features new bench seating, bike rack, drinking fountain and Information Kiosk
  • Funds were made available by the Federal Highway Administration through its TAP Program, coordinated through the Missouri Department of Transportation with City of Sikeston, Missouri. 
  • Future improvements at the Sikeston Depot Trailhead call for a future park with pavilion, special pavement, historic markers, improved parking and a railroad themed inclusive playground:

Commenting on the Sikeston Cotton Belt Trail project, Gateway Design Studio Owner/Principal R. Patrick Worzer, ASLA notes, “This project represents a great recreational and multi-use trail opportunity for the City of Sikeston and surrounding New Madrid County. Phase 1 will serve as an important cornerstone as part of this multi-phase trail system which will link surrounding businesses, residential and parks along the US Highway Business 60 corridor. We are pleased to have teamed with Water’s Engineering as part of the planning and design of this exciting new transportation and recreational asset for the community!”.

For more information regarding the Gateway Design Studio, LLC and the Sikeston “Rail to Trail” Historic Depot Trailhead Master Plan project, the public can contact Patrick Worzer at (314) 703-1800 or visit the company’s web site at 

R. Patrick Worzer, ASLA, RLA, CLARB serves as the principal owner and design leader for Gateway Design Studio, LLC, a professional planning, landscape architectural and environmental design firm located in St. Louis, Mo. Worzer is a member of the following organizations; ASLA – American Society of Landscape Architects and MPRA-Missouri Parks and Recreation Association and is a Certified Professional with CLARB – Council of Landscape Architects Registration Board. He can be reached via email at 

Gateway Design Studio, LLC is a next generation design firm based on over 25-years commitment of experience and service to many of our past and present clients. GDS serves its clients by providing innovative urban planning, landscape architecture and environmental design within the Midwest region. Our design expertise transcends within a variety of markets notably in parks/recreation, institutional, communities and commercial/office sectors. Past projects range in construction value from $25,000 to $10 Million.

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