The site of a movable restaurant that has moved on is destined to become a gathering place to link biking and walking trails in the Iowa Great Lakes region.

“It runs right along next to our railroad trail, so we’ve been watching that property for some time,” says Erin Reed, executive director of the Dickinson County Trails Board. “It’s been for sale for a while and just always thought it would be a great spot to have a trail head.”

The Lake Street Diner in Spirit Lake that sat on the property was moved in December.

Reed says her group has gotten a grant to cover the cost of buying and developing the property.

“At this time we are looking at different design concepts for a shelter type area that would include restrooms and be somewhat unique to the old rail trail concept,” Reed says, “and also include some landscaping and clean up of the area.”

Reed expects the project to take a couple of years. The city of Spirit Lake sits on the western shore of East Lake Okoboji. The railroad trail being developed in Dickinson and Osceola Counties will eventually run 37 miles on land first laid with rail tracks in 1867. The 14-mile Iowa Great Lakes Trail includes a loop through Spirit Lake’s residential and downtown areas.

(By Corey Harguth, KICD, Spencer)