PERRY, Iowa, June 6, 2017 -- The Wellmark Foundation, with regional headquarters in Des Moines, has announced a $90,000 match grant to the Dallas County Conservation Foundation (DCCF) for the first phase of construction of the proposed 9-mile, $5-million recreational trail that will connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail, just northwest of the Des Moines metropolitan area. And, yes, that means trail officials now must raise another $90,000 to match that Wellmark Foundation grant.
As stated in Wellmark's award letter: “It is with great pleasure we inform you that The Wellmark Foundation Board of Directors has approved your request for a $90,000 Large MATCH Grant for the proposed Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail Connector -- Phase I. We commend you for your commitment to the health of your community and the individuals that will benefit from your project. As outlined in The Wellmark Foundation’s 2017 Matching Assets to Community Health RFP, the grant amount must be matched on a dollar-per-dollar basis. In order to receive your $90,000 grant, you will need to verify your matching funds by Monday, September 18, 2017. We are delighted in the work you are doing to make Iowa a better place for all of us to engage in a safe and healthy environment in which to be active. Again, congratulations on the approval of a $90,000 Wellmark Foundation Large MATCH Grant. We look forward to the impact this project will have on generations to come."
What that means, said Dallas County Conservation Board director and trail manager, "is that we need to match this grant with another $90,000."
The "Phase I" project would be the first construction segment of the RRVT to HTT connector trail. Phase I construction would include the segment from 18th Street in Perry on east approximately 1.5 miles to 130th Street. It is hoped that construction can happen in 2018. The estimated project cost for the Phase I construction is $556,000.
In addition to the Wellmark Foundation match grant, the DCCF has received a $10,000 donation from Bob and Jane Sturgeon, of Urbandale, donated through the larger Dallas County Foundation. The Sturgeons' donation was given the same night of the recent Dallas County Foundation annual awards dinner, in mid-April. The Sturgeons are the former owners and CEOs of Barr-Nunn Tansportation Inc., a trucking firm based in the town of Granger that serves the nation. Both Sturgeons have become active trail riders in recent years.
At that Dallas County Foundation awards dinner, the Dallas County Foundation itself also made its final pledge payment donation of $20,000 for the connector project. That fulfilled their earlier pledge of a total of $60,000 for the connector trail project.
"These recent funds received or awarded to the DCCF are, as you might expect, a great start to getting to the $556,000 estimated Phase I project total," said conservation director Wallace. "We will continue to apply for additional funds as those opportunities present themselves. Now that the trail season is upon us it would be a great time to make a sizeable donation for this Phase I project. Please consider donating to help raise the funds for this phase and for the ultimate completion of the RRVT to HTT connector project."
Total cost of the 9-mile connector trail is expected to be $5 million, as reported above. About $1.7 has been secured so far in grants and donations from government programs and gifts from businesses, organizations, families and individuals.
You can donate by going to the following web site www.letsconnectdallascounty.com or call the Dallas County Conservation Board at (515)465-3577.