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

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

PERRY, Iowa, Jan. 11, 2018 -- The three-year-long fundraising effort to build a $5 million, 9-mile-long "Connector" trail between Perry and Woodward topped the halfway point this week with the announcement of a $161,968 federal grant for the project from the Iowa Transportation Commission.

Mike Wallace, the Dallas County Conservation director who is in charge of the campaign, said total fundraising has now reached $2.53 million in private and corporate donations, grants received and pledged.

"There's still lots of funds to be raised," Wallace said Wednesday, Jan. 10. "Many grants to apply for and many corporate doors to knock on yet."

But the Connector trail now seems a whole lot closer to becoming a reality.

It will link two of the most popular and busiest paved recretional trails in the U.S. -- our 89-mile Raccoon River Valley Trail and the 25-mile High Trestle Trail, which runs from Woodward to Ankeny. The High Trestle Trail features the nationally-famous $3 million "Art Bridge," which spans the half-mile wide Des Moines River Valley at a height of 140 feet.  And the RRVT this spring will dedicate the new public artwork, "Waukee Railroad Pergola -- in the shadow of the rails," which will have installations in a half-dozen RRVT communities, at a total cost of about $1.5 million. Both are project are the creations of nationally-known tansportation artist David Dahlquist and his colleagues at RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines.

Wallace noted that the funding in hand for the Connector trail will enable construction to begin this year, 2018, on "Phase I" of the project, which will be building and paving 1.56 miles of trail going east out of Perry on a former railroad right-of-way to 130th Street.

The $161,968 announced on Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Transportation is to be used in acquisition of right-of-way for the trail from Quinlan Avenue to the city of Woodward. That amount comes from the federal Recreational Trails Program that the Iowa Transportation Commission administers.  Several other trail projects around the state were also funded with this round of federal grants -- which totaled $1,417,770 -- and you can read about those by clicking here.

You can get complete information on the Connector trail campaign -- and even donate online -- by clicking here.