The state Transportation Commission approved grants for 12 recreational trail projects across the state Tuesday. DOT recreational trails program manager, Yvonne Diller, says the grants total around $5.5 million.
“The Iowa Legislature appropriated six-million dollars to the State Recreational Trails Program for 2014, and that included one million dollars for existing historic trail bridge applications,” Diller says.
One of the largest grants awarded will help with the expansion of what has already become an iconic trail in central Iowa. “That project is to extend the 25-mile-long High Trestle Trail another 6 miles from the center of Ankeny to the north side of Des Moines,” Diller says. The grant for the project is $782,500 for the trail that includes the High Trestle bridge.
The Iowa River Trail projects was awarded $775,000. “Marshalltown and Hardin County were the two co-sponsors of the project,” Diller says. “And it will be replace of a wood decking and railing on the river bridge and some smaller structures in Marshalltown and Hardin County.”
Developers of the Pottawattamie County Trail won a grant of $700,000. “It’s approximately 15 miles of multi-use trail from Council Blufss to Neola. And it’s for phase one of a multi-phase project which will develop a trail throughout Pottawattamie County,” according to Diller.
Other projects award grants are: the Cedar Valley Nature Trail Bridge in Black Hawk County ($160,906); the Coon Rapids Connector Trail Underpass in Coon Rapids ($224,437); the Great River Road Bike Lane in Louisa County ($340,000); the Hoover Trail,- “The Missing Link” in Johnson County ($454,000) the Iowa DNR AmeriCorps Trail Crew ($296,250); the Lake Path Trail/JewEllsworth Trail Segment in Hamilton County ($647,140); the Mississippi River Trail – Pikes Peak Road to Guttenberg in Clayton County ($579,074); the Red Cedar Trail and Connector in Linn County ($55,000) and the Southwest Jackson Street Bridge Rehabilitation in Des Moines ($500,0000.
Diller says the state money provides the majority of the funding for each of the basic trail projects. “For the recreational trail projects, its an 80-percent grant with a 20-percent local match. However, for the historic bridge projects, its a 50-percent local match,” Diller says. The state received 56 applications for trail projects and one for work on an existing historic trail bridge. There is still some money available for bridge projects.
“We have $500,000s left for existing historic trail bridges, and we plan to have a January 2nd, 205 deadline for applications to use up that money,” Diller says. Groups interested in securing funds for historic trail bridges can contact Diller at the DOT to get application information, or go to: www.iowadot.gov/systems_planning/fedstate_rectrails.htm.
Diller says the six million dollars appropriated for the trails program this year was double or triple what the program normally recieves. And she says there have been some years where the program hasn’t received any funding.