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

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

WAUKEE, Iowa, Jan. 9, 2018 -- Officials of the City of Waukee, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association and the Dallas County Conservation Board gathered Tuesday morning, Jan. 9, for the presentation of a large sign that officially recognizes the RRVT and its iconic new public art installation as an "Iowa Great Place."

Representing the State of Iowa was Liesl Voges, community development director for the Iowa Arts Council and the Iowa Great Places program, both of which are administered by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

An Iowa Great Places grant helped complete the funding for the $1.1 million "Waukee Railroad Pergola -- in the shadow of the rails," the huge public art installation that is nearing completion at the Waukee trailhead of the RRVT. 

The artwork was designed and is being constructed and installed by artist David Dahlquist and his colleagues at RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines.  Dahlquist is one of the most sought-after "transportation artists" working in the U.S., and has designed such diverse installations as interstate highway rest stops, city railroad & subway stations, plazas and the "Art Bridge" on the nearby High Trestle Trail in central Iowa.

The Pergola project is already being extended well-beyond the gateway RRVT trailhead in Waukee.  There will be smaller installations, featuring components of the design, at five or six other RRVT trailheads, and all those should be completed during 2018.  And at least two other trail towns are now considering installations at their trailheads, too.

All of it was planned to reflect and interpret the railroad heritage of the trail and the communities along it.

The design is expected to give the 29-year-old, 89-mile-long, paved RRVT a fresh new "branding" with the trail-using public.

The work remaining at the Pergola on the west side of Waukee includes some electrical wiring and lighting, as well as the placing of the last few components of the design.

You can see and learn more about the installation in the photos and captions below here.

Jim Miller (left), of the Waukee Public Art Committee, and Matt Jermier, director of Waukee’s Parks & Rec Department, receive the official “Iowa Great Place” sign from Liesl Voges, community development manager for the Iowa Great Places program.  Miller also represents the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association and the Dallas County Conservation Board.


At the ceremony when the Iowa Great Place sign was awarded for the “Waukee Railroad Pergola – in the shadow of the rails” were (left to right) Jim Miller, Amy Lucht, Cooper Riley, Liesl Voges, Randy Jensen, Mike Wallace, Matt Jermier, Tim Moerman and Melinda Behn.  Miller and Jensen are with the Waukee Public Art Committee.  Lucht, Riley and Wallace are with the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, and Wallace is also Dallas County Conservation director.  Jermier is the City of Waukee’s parks & rec director and Moerman is Waukee’s city administrator.  Behn is president & CEO of the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce.


Here are Cooper Riley, president of the RRVT Association; Randy Jensen, of the Waukee Public Art Committee and the RRVT Association; Mike Wallace, director of Dallas County Conservation and the RRVT Association; Amy Lucht, of the RRVT Association, with Matt Jermier, the Waukee parks & rec director.


Here’s the donor recognition board at the RRVT trailhead in Waukee, the site of the “Waukee Railroad Pergola – in the shadow of the rails.”  The other side of the donor board has a huge map of the full recreational trail.


Here’s an overview of the Pergola installation on Tuesday morning, Jan. 9.  The public art installation is nearing completion, with some electrical work remaining and a few more components of the sculpture to be placed.  A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in the spring.