By KEN KEFFER

 PERRY, Iowa, Oct. 17, 2018 — The first segment of the 9-mile High Trestle Trail extension route that will connect Perry and Woodward and link to the Raccoon River Valley Trail is now open.

The initial 1.5-mile paved path runs east from Perry starting north of the high school. “Phase 1” construction took place throughout the summer and officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 12.

Addressing the crowd of nearly 100 spectators, the event speakers included Dallas County Conservation Board Director Mike Wallace, City of Perry Administrator Sven Peterson, Perry Community School District Superintendent Clark Wicks, and area landowner & trail supporter Kirk VanKirk. The Perry High School band provided the soundtrack for the event, and the Hotel Pattee contributed refreshments.

Hotel Pattee General Manager Aaron Lenz took to the podium for a special announcement. Earlier this summer, in honor of his birthday, 10-year-old Tate Boyd, of Urbandale, made $350 donation to the trail project. Lenz was inspired by young Boyd’s gesture and instantly wanted to support Tate’s enthusiasm.

With young Tate in the crowd, Lenz announced a matching challenge for trail supporters.

Hotel Pattee is offering a free night stay to anyone who makes a matching $350 or more contribution between now and the end of January. Matching donors are also eligible for a free registration to the 2019 BRR Ride to be held Feb. 2, 2019.

“Tate is very thrilled that it has taken off and people have been inspired to give!” said his mother Beth Ann Boyd.

Tate is an enthusiastic bicyclist, commuting to school on two wheels. Along with a few friends who made honorary contributions for this birthday donation, he was one of the first to ride the new trail segment.

Eventually the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails will be linked between Perry and Woodward.  “Phase 2” of the “Let’s Connect Project,” slated to begin in 2019, will start in Woodward and work west.

According to Wallace, the 9-mile route, officially an extension of the High Trestle Trail, has been mapped out and option agreements are in place. The $5 million project will continue moving forward as funding comes in.

If you’d like to contribute, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or visit online at www.dallascountyiowa.gov/conservation or www.letsconnectdallascounty.com.

Ken Keffer, who wrote this story, is the outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Conservation Board. You can email him at ken.keffer@dallascountyiowa.gov.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony in Perry opening the “connector trail,” which will now be officially known as an extension of the High Trestle Trail from Woodward to Perry.

Young Tate Boyd and the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s mascot at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Young Tate Boyd and the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s mascot at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony in Perry opening the “connector trail,” which will now be officially known as an extension of the High Trestle Trail from Woodward to Perry.