By KEN KEFFER
PERRY, Iowa, Sept. 19, 2018 – Earlier this summer, Tate Boyd of Urbandale celebrated his “half birthday” in a unique way. In lieu of gifts, the now 10.5-year-old requested donations for the new bicycle trail that is being installed between Perry and Woodward. The thoughtfulness of the gesture was matched twentyfold throughout the remainder of his birthday month.
“Every donation helps move the project forward but few build community like the recent gift from Tate Boyd,” Dallas County Conservation Board director Mike Wallace said.
After Tate’s initial $350 donation, Wallace issued a matching challenge to trail supporters. This grassroots fundraising effort brought in nearly $7,000 in the weeks following.
“I knew the trail community would rally behind Tate,” he said. “Let’s keep the momentum rolling as we connect the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails.”
One Dallas County Conservation Board supporter was especially inspired by the donation. So much so that they replicated the fundraising efforts for their own birthday. A social media campaign with friends and family brought in $1,400 from numerous contributors.
A $5,000 check at the end of the month helped boost the overall total to nearly $7,000 for the Let’s Connect Trail Project.
While Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems, the new connector trail segment will link these networks. The paved paths are popular with bike riders and also provide recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers, and skaters.
The first phase of this $5 million construction project is nearly complete as crews are finishing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east. The conservation board plans to open this segment in the coming weeks.
Phase 2, slated to begin in 2019, will start in Woodward and work west. The entire 9-mile route has been mapped out and easements are in place. The project continues to move forward as funding comes in.
Ken Keffer, who wrote this story, is the outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Conservation Board. You can email him at email@example.com.