By Marty Bachman
A ribbon cutting was held for the opening of the new Kirksville Labyrinth Center above the Spur Pond off of Osteopathy Street on Thursday, July 27. The project was a longtime goal of Anne Moody, a chemistry professor at Truman State, who has been interested in labyrinth’s for many years. She was encouraged to fulfill her dream of building the labyrinth by Elsie Gaber, a former colleague at Truman State University and a member of the Thousand Hills Rotary Club, who sought out connections and benefactors that could assist with making the project a success.
Visitors to the ribbon cutting also celebrated the construction of a gazebo adjacent to the labyrinth that was the Eagle Scout project of Jacob Thompson. The Thousand Hills Rotary Club donated $4,000 to make Thompson’s gazebo a reality.
Moody said that she had wanted to build a labyrinth since her daughter was in middle school in the mid-2000s but heard another project was on the books and she didn’t want to compete with it.
When she learned in 2018 that the project had not come to pass, she contacted Kirksville Parks and Recreation Director Rodney Sadler, who offered up the location on the hillside overlooking Forest-Llewellyn Cemetery, A.T. Still University and Northeast Regional Hospital, which she noted signified birth, death and the education of people in between those stages of life.
Thompson thanked the parks department and volunteers that helped him build the gazebo, which earned him Eagle Scout honors.
“I hope it will make a very positive impact on our community,” Thompson said. “This project of ours is a shining example of what can be accomplished with hard work, determination and a willingness to serve others and expect nothing in return.”
Sadler said that the site of the labyrinth is not yet finished and that they expect to add parking spaces and sidewalks in the near future thanks to a solid waste management district grant the city received.
“Those plans are being finalized now,” Sadler said, noting that the city is also looking to plant trees around the labyrinth to provide shade for visitors.
“It’s such a nice location, everybody can get to it, and yet it’s also quiet enough that you can really contemplate whatever your issues are,” Moody said, noting that the labyrinth was a unique personal path where walkers can start at the beginning and follow the pathway to the center, releasing their concerns.
“And when you get to the center, you can pause and maybe receive some insights about your concerns,” Moody said. “Take your time getting ready to head back out into the real world and then walk that same path right back out.”