By SARAH BROWN
CNA staff reporter
A 3.4-mile trail expansion around Green Valley Lake will be complete by June 2014.
The trail expansion is part of the ongoing Park to Park trail project, which begins at the campground in McKinley Park and will end at Green Valley State Park campground.
According to Green Valley Park Ranger Alan Carr, the 3.4 mile expansion will pick up at the dam inside Green Valley State Park and continue the trail heading east to the campground.
“It’s actually 3.1 miles of constructed trail,” said Carr. “We need to share the existing roads which makes the trail 3.4, to 3.5 miles.”
The funding for the trail expansion passed in a 5 to 1 revote Thursday by the Natural Resource Commission, after the commission had failed to approve a request for funding at their June 13 meeting in Des Moines.
The commissioners did not originally approve the project because three of seven commissioners were absent and more information was requested to help the decision of commissioners present.
To continue the Park to Park project, it was urgent the commissioners approved the funding as money earmarked for the project by the State of Iowa Economic Development Authority Board was set to expire June 30.
“The state of Iowa Economic Development Authority granted an extension pending approval of the project by the Natural Resource Commission,” said Gerharz.
Now, with the support the the State of Iowa Economic Development Authority and Natural Resource Commission, the trail expansion is expected to begin this fall and be completed June 2014.
Carr said the trail from McKinley Park to Green Valley will be approximately 7.91 miles and an additional .38 of a mile by Greater Regional Hospital and 1.1 miles, which goes from Lincoln Street to Townline Street as part of the Safe Routes to School program.
“The city has future plans (to expand trails) in town ... and our ultimate goal is to circle the entire Green Valley Lake, which would add another six miles,” said Carr. “If wishes come true, there’s plans on both ends.”
Carr said there is no set time frame or funding secured, other than what has already been approved for the 3.4 expansion project.
“It took a little time to get this through the commission,” said Carr.
Carr praised the efforts of Gerhartz and Wayne Pantini, executive director of the Union County Development Association for their help, particularly a map they designed for the commissioners.
“It’s definitely been a group effort to get this all completed,” said Carr.
Now, the bidding process for the construction contract will begin, which Carr said will go to the lowest bidder.
Carr said the trail is a joint effort by the City of Creston, Union County on the shared road portions and Crestland Community Betterment Foundation — a contributor of grants and funding.