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REAP City Parks and Open Spaces Grants Approved

The Natural Resource Commission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grants to 24 cities for use in parks and open spaces during its October meeting. The projects were awarded nearly $2.4 million.

The REAP City Parks and Open Space competitive grants help cities establish natural areas, encouraging outdoor recreation and resource management. Cities were separated into three categories: population under 2,000, population 2,000 – 25,000 and population over 25,000.

Cities with populations under 2000
DUNKERTON, Restored Prairie Wetland Acquisition, $50,000 – This project will acquire 43.84 acres of land, in the process of being restored to a natural wetland prairie, on the northern edge of the city. The land, currently used for row crop production is being restored under the NRCS Wetland Reserve Program.

BELMOND, Prairieland Trail Connector, $50,000 - This project includes the acquisition of 0.5 miles discontinued segment of the Union Pacific Railroad and 0.75 miles of trail development. This segment is located in the northeast area of the city of Belmond and will link the Franklin Grove Trail and the Prairieland Trail which extend to Mason City.

PRAIRIE CITY, Prairie City Rails-to-Trails Corridor Acquisition, $75,000 - This project will acquire 0.75 miles of deactivated Iowa Interstate Railroad corridor in Prairie City. This segment is part of the larger 10.75 mile corridor that Prairie City, Mitchellville and Jasper County are working to secure to connect to each other. The full purchase will extend the existing 5.6 mile segment to Monroe creating a 16.35 mile multi-use trail that will encourage exercise and recreation in outdoor spaces.

AVOCA, Old Nishnabotna Riverbed Wetland Preservation and Trail Project, $71,078 - This project involves construction of a 1,900LF trail, wetland and wildlife habitat conservation and installation of interpretive aids for public education. The project has a positive relationship to and compliments the Nishnabotna River Trail. This project satisfies local and statewide goals for outdoor recreation by providing a wellness opportunity (trail), restoring and protecting a wetland area and habitat that is threatened and providing public educational opportunities.

VAN METER, Van Meter Recreation Complex – Raccoon River Access, $75,000 - This project will develop a section of the south bank of the Raccoon River that flows through the north part of the city. This development will include river access for Raccoon River Water Trail users, parking, a walking trail from the boat ramp to the confluence of the North and Middle Raccoon Rivers, stream bank stabilization, signage and other investments on city-owned property in and near the boundaries of Van Meter.

NORA SPRINGS, Mill Pond Pedestrian Bridge and Multi-use Trail Extension, $75,000 - This project will provide a bridge and multi-use trail system over the Mill Pond Dam on the Shell Rock River. Representing phase three of the City’s Long Term Trail Plan, the bridges and trail extensions will serve to connect the city’s existing multi-use trails and provide pedestrian access between Shell Rock River City Park and Old Mill Pond City Park.

KEOTA, KeWash Trailhead – Keota, $75,000 - The KeWash Trail is a walking/biking trail that spans 14 miles from Keota to Washington. The west end of the trail currently stops in Keota between the agronomy center and feed mill. The project will acquire 1.9 acres of land to reroute the end of the trail to make a safer, more inviting entrance to the trail. Additionally, the city will build a parking lot.

MANNING, Manning Hospital/Parks Connector Trail Bridge, $45,811 - This is the final phase in the City’s portion of the Hospital-Parks Connector Trail. Previous phases paved trail from the hospital to the West Nishnabotna River on the west and from the downtown and City Park to the river on the east. This project will build the bridge and the bridge approaches between the two dead-end trails. It will literally bridge the gap between the heart of the community, the hospital and the county park.

Cities with population from 2,000 to 25,000
POSTVILLE, Williams Creek: Trout Stream and Prairie Restoration, $46,500 - This project will purchase land adjacent to and restore Williams Creek in the City of Postville. This section of Williams Creek, a cold-water trout stream and tributary to the Yellow River, has been used as a dumping area, has eroding banks and is overgrown with weeds. The project will clean-out the debris, repair the banks, plant native vegetation, and open the stream to public access through a mowed walking path that will extend a paved Postville Community Bike Trail.

MUSCATINE, Boat Harbor & Trail Embankment Restoration Project, $125,000 - Rip-rap will be placed along the inside harbor wall at the Muscatine Boat Harbor; insufficient rip-rap is causing severe erosion. The rip-rap will be placed on the 1,600 feet stretch of the Mississippi River embankment, from the Pearl City Station to the Island Levee; this will correct an erosion problem that endangers an adjacent trail. A severely deteriorated 64 slip dock at the Muscatine Boat Harbor will be replaced.

EMMETSBURG, Emmetsburg Lakeside Park and Campground, $75,000 - This project will develop a $1.8 million phase one of the lakeside park and camping complex that will accentuate the natural resources, lake access and recreational amenities offered by Five Island Lake in Emmetsburg. Phase one of this project is the development of camping sites, camping cabins, public dock, public beach, vehicle and trailer parking, playground, convenience store, shower house and a trail through the development.

EVANSDALE, Meyers Lake Shoreline Rehabilitation, $75,000 - The project includes: removal of large stones, tree trunks, branches and overgrowth along the shoreline of Meyers Lake; replacement of the revetment at a shallower grade and adding choke stone to prevent erosion; seeding and fertilizing the reclaimed park space to improve access to Meyers Lake; construction of a retaining wall around the Angels Park Bridge.

BONDURANT, Gay Lea Wilson Trail Extension, $75,000 - Acquisition of easements and land for completing the approximately 1.5 mile extension of the Gay Lea Wilson Trail that will begin at Brick Street in Bondurant, cross under Hwy 65 at Lincoln Street, follow Mud Creek south to connect with the Altoona extension at I-80 West.

SPENCER, Phase 1: Clay County Acquisition/Iowa Great Lakes Trail, $100,000 - This project will acquire property necessary for development of the Clay County portion of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail. This is the first phase in a three year project to create the Clay County portion of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail and link the cities of Spencer and Fostoria in Clay County with the Iowa Great Lakes Trail in Dickinson County.

BELLEVUE, Bellevue South Phase 1: Mill Creek Pedestrian/Bike Bridge & Connector Trail, $75,000 - The project consists of acquiring 2.2 acres of land adjoining Mill Creek in Bellevue, erecting a pedestrian/bike bridge over Mill Creek and connecting the bridge to existing trails on both the city and Bellevue State Park side, as part of the larger $8 million Mississippi Circuit Initiative, which will create a trail loop connecting Bellevue State Park and Mines of Spain with city/county parks.

COLFAX, Colfax North Park Shoreline Stabilization and Improvement Project, $53,240 - The City of Colfax received a land donation of 480 acres from Martin Marietta for the purpose of developing into a park. One of the first tasks associated with the restoration is to treat the severely eroding banks and remove some of the spoil piles near the entrance of the park. On shoreline 1: grade, seed and fencing on 800 feet of highly eroding banks and on shoreline 2: clear trees, grade, seed and clear fencing of 1000 feet of shoreline along the entry road into the park.

MAQUOKETA, Maquoketa Trail Phase 1: Maquoketa River Pedestrian & Bike Bridge, $100,000 - The Maquoketa Trail Phase 1 project consists of erecting a pedestrian/bike bridge over the Maquoketa River, as part of the larger $4.6 million Prairie Creek Connections Initiative, which will create a trail loop from Prairie Creek Recreation Area through downtown Maquoketa to Hurstville Interpretive Center and on to Maquoketa Caves State Park. The bridge will span 220 feet and be placed on existing pilings on the south side of US Business 61.

BLOOMFIELD, Davis County Recreational Trail: Phase 1, $46,700- The Davis County Trail Council is developing the initial 0.3 mile section of Davis County’s first multi-use recreational trail. The paved trail will connect several destinations within the City of Bloomfield.

Cities larger than 25,000
MARION, Waldo’s Rock Park Development Project, $150,000 - Development of a 7.4 acre park with amenities that include construction of a park road and parking lot, pavilion, loop trail around the pond area, pond improvements and stabilization of glacial granite rock with a pier type trail extending into the pond and encompassing the granite rock. Trail/trail head connection to the Grant Wood trail system and establishment of trees and planting five acres of prairie grass will also be components of the project.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Fairmount Park Woodland Restoration Phase Two, $200,000 - This project includes land restoration, trail development, neighborhood connection and directional signage. Invasive plant species will be removed, chipped for trail surfacing and placed on the trails. The trails developed will be 5400 feet in length. Signs will be installed to direct park users to the trails and destination points in the park.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Hughes Preserve Park Land Acquisition, $300,000 - In a dense residential area that has been identified as having a deficiency of green space accessible to the public, 7.33 acres of mostly undeveloped land is available for purchase. The land contains landmark trees and has potential as a nature preserve. Long range plans include trails, native prairie, interpretive educational signage and a natural playscape. This application is for acquisition to protect the land.

DUBUQUE, Eagle Point Park Environmental Restoration Project, $200,000 - Eagle Point Park, is a 164-acre community park that opened in 1909 on Dubuque’s northeast side. It overlooks the Mississippi River, providing a spectacular view of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Over time, the park’s multipurpose green space and natural wooded hillsides have experienced severe erosion and sediment loss. Invasive plant species have added to the storm water management issues on the park’s rolling and sometimes rugged terrain. Environmental restoration is needed to mitigate and reverse these impacts.

IOWA CITY, Project GREEN Gardens at the Historic Ned Ashton House, $154,079 - The project is for site improvements at the Historic Ned Ashton House site: flood plain reforestation; pergola and associated paving; historic west terrace reconstruction; rain garden; flood plain botanical garden beds; tree markers; interpretive signage and a compost bin.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa River Trail Phase 2, $66,737 - This project will extend the Iowa River Trail 0.51 miles into Marshalltown. This project will get the trail into a key interconnection location and complete a gap in the American Discovery Trail. The trail will connect with other regional trail assets like the Pine Lake State Park Trail, the Central Iowa Trail Network, the Linn Creek Trail and the Highway 330 Trail.