Members of the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association are seeking Iowa Scenic Byway status for the historic roadway. Bob Ausberger of Jefferson is a past National President of the Lincoln Highway Association. He says even bigger projects could result from winning the designation for the route, which stretches from Clinton to Blair, Nebraska. Illinois and Ohio have already received Scenic Byway designations, and what they’re trying to do is put together a group of states, for instance Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa as a national Scenic Byway. Ausberger has been lobbying local government bodies in Greene County for support with some mixed reaction.He says they got letters of support from the towns of Jefferson and Scranton, statements that they’re aware of the project, and they understand it and encourage the promoters. He says so far Greene County won’t contribute a letter of support. Ausberger says other county chapters of the Lincoln Highway Association have had more success. Many told them at a recent meeting that they have success getting similar letters of support. Iowa Scenic Byway Program Manager Margaret Roetman describes the application process. Applications arrive in October she says, and the following summer it’s time to evaluate the roads so by the spring after that they have a “score” for byways to be designated. Applications are scored on the basis of scenic and historic factors. Roetman says Scenic Byways may help local economies.She adds there is no cost to counties, except for having their road crews hang of Scenic Byway signs, which are provided by the D-O-T at no cost. There are currently 8 state Scenic Byways and 2 National Scenic Routes in Iowa. Two previous Department of Transportation studies indicate that some portions of the road across the state may not be scenic enough to qualify the entire highway for Scenic Byway status. The Lincoln Highway Association needs to meet an October first deadline to have their application considered this year.
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