The state Transportation Commission approved funding Tuesday designed to help create jobs and improve trails in the state. The commission approved a nearly $370,000 grant for the city of Ottumwa. D.O.T. spokesman Craig Markley says the funding will help build a street to provide access to a proposed U.S. Jobs Corps Center.

Markley says the center would be like a small community college and is tied in with Indian Hills Community College, and will have a dorm, rec center and cafeteria. Markley says the center would provide training for economically disadvantaged kids ages 16 to 24. He says the center would create 130 new jobs at an average wage of $17.78 cents an hour, which he says is 117% above the Wappello County average wage of $15.24.

The commission also approved a $443,000 grant for Denison to construct a roadway to a 40-acre office park. Markley says the office park is located directly across from the proposed new Crawford County Memorial hospital and is expected to draw in businesses that complement the hospital. The Transportation Commission also approved one-point-two million dollars in federal funds for trail projects. Markley says some $280,000 will go to the Americorps Trail project run by the D.N.R.

He says it will help repair a lot trails that were damaged by flooding. Markley says it will also help develop new and restore trails at Backbone State Park, the Mines of Spain state park, Doan state park, and Lake of the Three Fires state park. Another $240,000 is going to the D.N.R. and the Iowa State Snowmobile Association to buy equipment to maintain snowmobile trails.

Markley says they plan to buy three snowmobile groomers to replace three outdated machines. He says this money will go along with fee money paid by snowmobile and A-T-V users to pay for the equipment. The commission also approved some $226,000 for the Clear Creek Trail project in Coralville, and nearly $234,000 for the Copper Creek Trail in Jackson County.