Iowa River Rail Trail continues to develop

TRAILS Inc. and the Hardin County Trail Commission joint committees and have been spending the last few months working on the development of the 34-mile long trail from Marshalltown to Hardin County.

“Something is happening, and believe me, something really is happening,” said Terry Briggs, member of TRAILS Inc. “It just seems slow at this point, it’s just going to take time and everybody is working on it very hard, it’s just a slow process for a trail like this.”

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is in the process of giving a deed of the Iowa River Rail Trail corridor to Marshalltown and Hardin County by later this month.

At that time, Marshalltown will own about 12 miles of the trail, including Albion and Liscomb, up to the Hardin County line.

The two committees chose Snyder & Associates, out of Ankeny, as the engineer for the trail. Snyder & Associates developed trails across Iowa including the High Trestle Trail and the Raccoon River Valley Trail.

“We are excited to have them on board,” Briggs said. “They will make it a class act trail.”

Snyder & Associates will give the joint committees recommendations for the corridor. The final report will be done by the end of July.

“The engineering firm will go out and do inspections, go to the bridges and make recommendations for us,” said Joel Greer, member of TRAILS Inc.. “Included in those recommendations will be which parts of the trail will be just biking, skating, running, walking and which parts of the trail is space to have snowmobiles.”

The salvage process of the corridor will be complete by June 1, then the cleanup will begin.

Greer said he already has a list started for people who want to help with the cleanup, but more are welcomed. Those interested can contact him at (641)752-5467.

Locally, TRAILS Inc. is going through the process of choosing a logo for the committee, setting up social media and working on its website. The Facebook page, Trails Inc. is already up and running.

Members of TRAILS Inc. are also in the process of planning a sneak peak event scheduled for sometime in June. At the sneak peak event people will have the opportunity to walk some of the trail in Albion and Marshalltown.

“We can’t call it a grand opening event because we can’t officially open the trail until we stabilize the bridges and implement safety features to make it safe for people to use,” Briggs said. “We will try to get folks up to walk a little bit of the trail and actually get out and see the true beauty of it.”

Member of TRAILS Inc. are also working on state and federal grants to help fund the development of the trail. The group is also in the processing of planning local fundraising.