News on the Trail

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New owners of Hotel Pattee in Perry are introduced

Tom and Vickie Maxwell, of the Edwardsville area in southern Illinois, will succeed Jay and Denise Hartz, who've done a terrific job re-establishing the hotel's reputation for quality, service and fun during their 4-plus years of ownership. The Hartzes have also made the Pattee one of the most popular amenities on our Raccoon River Valley Trail. Health concerns are taking the Hartzes to warmer weather, and the Maxwells say they are excited to be taking over "a jewel" of a property.

A new trailside gathering place going up in Jamaica!

Chad Frantum and Jeni Hollman, who have been running their "Just One More" bar on the east end of the old school building in Jamaica, are putting the business in a brand new building going up immediately adjacent to the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Opening as early as March, the new "Just One More" will have patios on both the south and west sides. They got the blessing for their plans from Tommy Jo Scheuermann, owner of the popular ToJo's Bar & Grill in Jamaica, where the focus is more on food. Looks like more good times for trail users in Jamaica!

Wow! Funding for "Connector" trail tops midpoint toward $5 million goal!

The Iowa Transportation Commission this week approved a $161,968 federal grant for part of the 9-mile "Connector" trail that will link the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail, between Perry and Woodward. That means the fund drive has now topped $2.53 million toward the expected $5 million total cost of the project. Some construction on the Connector -- 1.56 miles going east from Perry -- will happen during the 2018 construction season.

It's official now -- our RRVT is an "Iowa Great Place"!

Liesl Voges, community development director for the Iowa Great Places program, officially handed off the sign designating the recreational trail as a great place in a brief ceremony Tuesday morning, Jan. 9, at the RRVT trailhead on the west edge of Waukee. That's the site of the huge public art installation "Waukee Railroad Pergola -- in the shadow of the rails," designed and constructed by artist David Dahlquist and his colleagues at RDG Planning & Design, of Des Moines.