The Raccoon River Valley Trail now has an iconic “gateway” with the completion and grand opening of the fantastic new Waukee Trailhead developed by the City of Waukee. The ribbon-cutting and opening was held on Saturday morning, October 6, when the temperature dived to 26 degrees — but that didn’t stop more than 70 trail supporters from showing up for the ceremony. We’ve got a brief story and a dozen colorful photos right here.
WAUKEE, Iowa, October 8, 2012 – On a Saturday morning when there was brilliant sunshine but a bone-rattling low temperature of 26 degrees, more than 70 people turned out for another big moment in the 24-year history of the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
A new City of Waukee trailhead — one so nice and unusual that it is bound to become one of the most-remembered features of the RRVT — was officially opened with short speeches by officials, a ribbon-cutting, hot coffee and other treats. It is located on the west side of this town, which serves as the “gateway” of the trail as people come out from the Des Moines metro area, and the trailhead is located right where the two loops of the trail meet. Two additional trail construction projects to the northwest are nearing completion, and by next spring, the RRVT will be one of the longest paved trails in the U.S. at 89 miles — with an interior loop of 72 miles, the longest such loop on any trail in the nation.
The City of Waukee developed the trailhead at a cost of about $230,000, with major assistance from the Waukee Rotary Club, a grant from the Dallas County Foundation, a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources “Recreation Enhancement And Protection” (REAP) program, and the RDG Planning & Design firm.
Construction was completed rapidly over this past summer. Visitors will notice brightly-colored shade structures, a new public restroom with flush toilets, benches, beautiful landscaping and ample parking for vehicles. You will see the trail’s logo has been built right into the brickwork of a patio there.
The city is also planning to add RRVT mileage signs, a large RRVT trailhead sign and a 3-sided informational kiosk, too.
You can learn more about the facilities and the ceremony in the photos and captions below here.
And you can read our earlier story about the trailhead, when it was first announced, by clicking here.
Here, Mayor Bill Peard of Waukee uses a pair of ceremonial scissors to cut a ribbon to officially open the new Waukee Trailhead on the west edge of that city. It is located on the west edge of town, where the two loops of the Raccoon River Valley Trail meet, and has extensive landscaping, fabric shade structures, permanent restrooms, benches and more. The others in this photo were major contributors, in one way or another, to the new development. Left to right in front are Craig Bullis of RDG Planning & Design; Matt Jermier, Waukee’s director of parks and recreation; Carol Wisnousky, whose late husband Tom Wisnousky was a big supporter of the RRVT and bicycling; Mayor Peard; Pam Thomas, of West Des Moines, whose late husband Tommy Thomas was also a booster of the RRVT; Tammie Krausman, coordinator of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources “REAP” grants program; and Mark Hanson, a member of the Dallas County Board of Supervisors. In back are Jim Strauss, of the Waukee Rotary Club; Mike Wallace, the Dallas County Conservation director; Susan Rasmussen, another Rotarian, and Marty Glanz, of the Dallas County Foundation. (Photo by Bob German)
This is an overview of the new Waukee Trailhead, where one loop heads west to Adel, and the other loop heads northwest to Dallas Center. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
Here are the two memorial benches shown on the trailhead’s patio, where the RRVT logo is artfully built right into the bricks. That nifty piece of work was done by RJ Lawn and Landscape of Waukee. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
Two benches at the new trailhead are memorials to well-known bicycle riders who are now deceased. This one remembers Dan Wisnousky, of the Des Moines area, who died in a cycling accident in 2004, and his father Tom Wisnousky, of West Des Moines, who died in 2011. Both were members of the Tall Dogs Bike Club. (Photo by Bob German)
Traci Kadlec (left), who was married to the late Dan Wisnousky, and her mother-in-law Carol Wisnousky are shown here on the family’s memorial bench at the new RRVT trailhead. (Photo by Bob German)
This bench at the trailhead is a memorial to Tommy Thomas, a cyclist from West Des Moines known for his enthusiasm for life – as expressed in one of his frequent sayings. (Photo by Bob German)
Shown on the Thomas memorial bench are his wife Pam Thomas (right) with her friends Ruth Glick (left) and Bill Hamilton. All live in the Des Moines area and are frequent riders on the RRVT. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
Matt Jermier, director of parks and recreation for the City of Waukee, is shown here addressing the crowd at the official opening of the new Waukee Trailhead, which has been a city project with many donors. Behind him is Mayor Bill Peard. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
Marty Glanz, president of the Dallas County Community Foundation, was among the speakers at the ceremony opening the new Waukee Trailhead of the RRVT. The foundation was one of the contributors to the facility. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
Craig Bullis, of the RDG Planning & Design firm, which worked on the project, was among the speakers. Bullis is also a Waukee Rotarian and helped with the club’s fundraising and work on the trailhead project. (Photo by Jon Cook)
The Waukee Rotary Club presented the City of Waukee with a check for $10,500 to help fund the new RRVT trailhead in the community. (Photo by Mike Wallace)
This is a nice view of people gathering under the fabric shade structures, which are bound to become one of the iconic features of the RRVT. (Photo by Jon Cook)