DES MOINES – Counties and towns across the state of Iowa were recipients of grant dollars that will help improve the environment.
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 22 cities for use in parks and open spaces during its October meeting. The projects were awarded nearly $2.4 million. There were 53 applications for the grants.
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
· Columbus Junction, Toddtown Access Boat Landing, $74,106 – The City of Columbus Junction plans to acquire one property for the development of a boat landing which will allow residents to better access and utilize the Iowa River. The property will be developed and will include a boat landing, gravel access road and parking area, and interpretive and directional signage.
· Fairbank, Fairbank Portage and Riverfront Park Development, $75,000 – The City of Fairbank seeks funding for development of recreational amenities along the Little Wapsipinicon River in city owned West Bentley and East Bentley Parks. The proposed project includes the development of a canoe/kayak portage by constructing two kayak/canoe launches – one on the north side and on the south side of Fairbank Dam. The project also includes the construction of a park shelter, adjacent to the proposed portage, and expansion of a river-front recreational trail which is the final section needed to connect all four of the city’s riverfront parks.
· Epworth, East Park Development, $70,820 – This project is the development of a new park. The passive green space will have a picnic area with covered shelter, prairie and native landscaping beds, trees, benches with canopy, bike rack, walking paths and an entrance sign. A proposed water fountain will serve park patrons and walking trail users. A playground will also be added.
· Tiffin, Cities and Classrooms Building a Community, $75,000 – This project is one piece of a larger scale parks development plan for the city. One facet of the master plan is to create a community nature trail. The city extended an opportunity to a middle school STEM class. The students will work with the residents of Tiffin as Civil Engineers to design and build a trail that meets the needs of all stakeholders and connects to a larger community vision.
· Dunkerton, Riverwalk Trail Extension, $50,000 – The City of Dunkerton proposed constructing an extension onto the city’s existing Riverwalk Trail. The proposed trail will add approximately 2,000 linear feet to the existing trail network. The trail route will travel east/west along Crane Creek before turning north/south. The project will also provide a new recreational access point to the residents on the south side, connecting this portion of the city to the natural and recreational amenities in the northern half.
· Dallas Center, Dallas Center Depot Trailhead, $75,000 – This project is expanding on the impact of previous REAP awards, by providing a trailhead with multiuse covered shelter space in conjunction with restrooms. The restrooms will serve the expanding regional cycling community as well as local citizens. The shelter house will be available for use by a multitude of community and cycling events.
· Keosauqua, Keosauqua Loop to Loop Trail, $75,000 – This project will build the Loop to Loop Trail which is a quarter mile multi-use trail is needed as a safe connection along a busy roadway between the future Sunset Loop Trail and the existing Keosauqua Loop and Riverfront Trails.
· Manning, Trestle Park Trail, $29,184 – This project will construct 2,700 feet of concrete trail from Third Street (near downtown), along the West Nishnabotna River and end at the new Trestle Park. Trestle Park will feature an area for children, but primarily focuses on young adults with horseshoes, volleyball, outdoor exercise equipment, shelter house and more. Regional plans are also being developed and this segment would serve as part of the path through Manning when regional trails are developed.
Cities with population from 2,000 to 25,000
· Bellevue, Bellevue South Phase II, $75,000 – Bellevue South Phase II entails acquiring approximately five acres of land adjacent to Mill Creek in Bellevue and developing a trail connecting Phase I to the existing Rivervue Trail along the Mississippi River. Phase I will connect Felderman Park to Bellevue State Park via a pedestrian bridge over Mill Creek. Both phases will be constructed in 2017 as part of the larger $8 million Mississippi Circuit Initiative within the Grant Wood Loop Parks to People program.
· Anamosa, Wapsipinicon Trail – Anamosa portion, $100,000 – The Wapsipinicon Trail will provide a safe pedestrian and bicycle route for residents and visitors between Anamosa and Wapsipinicon State Park. The total trail will be approximately one mile that will run parallel to Shaw Road from Anamosa to the historic Hale Bridge in Wapsipinicon State Park as part of the larger “Crossing the Wapsi” initiative in the Grant Wood Loop Parks to People Master Plan. This application covers the City of Anamosa’s 1,340 feet portion.
· Fort madison, Connecting Fort Madison! Phase 2 Middle School Connector, $125,000 – This project will be Phase II of the three phase Connecting Fort Madison! trail project being organized by the City of Fort Madison and the local trails group Promoting Outdoor Recreational Trails (PORT) of Fort Madison. Phase 2 of the project will connect the trail built during Phase 1 of the project with 48th Street and the Fort Madison Middle School via an approximately 2,750 foot long concrete multi-use path.
· New Hampton, Garnant Park to Mikkelson Park Multi-Use Path, $75,000 – The proposed project will connect Garnant Park and Mikkelson Park with a multi‐use path for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non‐motorized uses. The path will connect the two parks, a beach area, a campground, a public pool, and adjacent residential neighborhoods using a combination of paved trail segments and on‐road accommodations. This project is a segment of a larger planning effort to develop a cross‐city trail to connect to the High School and Chickasaw Wellness Center.
· Storm Lake, 5th and Russell Park, $60,000 – This project will increase the city’s stock of neighborhood parkland. The acquisition will make this park a much needed destination for a large number of children within a neighborhood that does not have readily available access a neighborhood park.
· Washington, Kewash Nature Trail – Willow Pond Trail Extension, $100,000 – The KeWash Nature Trail is a walking/biking trail that spans 14 miles from Washington to Keota. 1,000 feet west of Hwy. 1 in Washington, the Project will construct a 1,900 foot trail extension around Willow Pond, and north to Lexington Blvd. The project takes place on Washington County property. It adds significantly to Kewash Nature Trail access to Willow Pond fishing hole and natural area, and also connects to new Veterans Memorial, Kirkwood Community College facility, County social service offices, and an affordable housing complex.
· Spencer, Phase II: Iowa Great Lakes Connection Trail, $125,000 – Construction of Phase II of the Iowa Great Lakes Connection Trail. This project will construct 3.2 miles of recreation trail from 10th St. W north to the city limits. This project will complete Phase II of the three phase Iowa Great Lakes Connection Trail from Spencer to The Iowa Great Lakes.
· Carroll, Carroll Recreational Trail – Segment A, $122,218 – The Carroll Recreational Trail Phase I would connect Northeast Park and Veterans Memorial Park in the City. The trail length is approximately 0.8 miles.
Cities larger than 25,000
· Des Moines, Des Moines River Trail Phase 2, $300,000 – This 2.3 mile project presents an opportunity to complete a vital missing link within the city and gain substantial progress towards a significant regional connection. It has strong support from government, citizens and business community proven by its place in regional plans, results of our annual trail count and survey and support letters. The benefits Phase 2 will bring to local and regional citizens are broad, encompassing transportation, health, wellness, recreation, economics and beyond.
· Cedar Rapids, 1000 Acres Pollinator Initiative, $96,480 – Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation with private and public partners are leading a five-year initiative to install up to 1,000 new public land acres of native prairie to support monarch and pollinator populations, as well as soil and watershed conservation within Cedar Rapids and Linn County. This project will fund conversion of 82 acres of city recreational trail greenway from non-native grasslands to native prairie habitat with interpretive signage for an educational walking path.
· Burlington, Riverfront Landing Trail, $150,000 – This project is for approximately a half mile long trail directly adjacent to the Mississippi River in Downtown Burlington. The trail will be the centerpiece of a comprehensive overhaul to the downtown riverfront, turning it from a parking lot into a recreational space. Additionally, this trail will serve as a connector between the regional Flint River Trail and the City’s on-street trail route.
· Waterloo, Boathouse Enhancement, $200,000 – This project involves the construction of enhancements to the Waterloo Boathouse located on the Cedar River. The improvements include a scenic river overlook, patio, pedestrian and parking lighting, bicycle racks, 10-foot-wide trail to connect the boathouse to the nearby shelter, restroom, and city trail system, and paved parking lot. The proposed enhancements were identified in the Waterloo Boathouse Master Plan.
· Ankeny, High Trestle Trail Extension – SW Ordnance Road to SE Magazine, $200,000 – Extend the High Trestle Trail 0.56 mile from its current terminus at SW Ordnance Road to SE Magazine. This project includes the construction of 10 foot wide recreation trail along abandoned railroad line, similar to the previous segments of the trail. The proposed segment will include crossing Ankeny Boulevard and will terminate at SE Magazine, where it will connect with existing 8 foot community trail.
· Dubuque, Valentine Park Expansion – Land Acquisition, $140,790 – The project involves acquisition of eight adjoining acres to expand Valentine Park to 19 acres on Dubuque’s southwest side. The park includes: public restroom, softball field, hard surface play equipment, picnic tables, grill, and bike/hike path.
REAP county conservation Grants Approved
The Natural Resource Commission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved eight Resource Enhancement and Protection grants to County Conservation Boards during its October meeting. The grants totaled $1.29 million. There were 17 applications for the grants.
REAP County Conservation grants are available to counties that have dedicated at least 22¢ per $1,000 of the assessed value of taxable property in the county for county conservation purposes.
REAP County Grants
· Buchanan County, Roberts Wildlife Area – Wapsi Corridor Connection, $185,500- This project will acquire 110 acres of forest, forested wetlands, upland grassland and Wapsipinicon River shoreline to provide key connections to existing public land in Black Hawk and Buchanan counties. Acquiring this piece of the habitat puzzle will result in 512 acres of contiguous public land in the Wapsipinicon River Corridor Public Waters Area.
· Des Moines County, Linder Recreation Area Acquisition, $250,000 – This project will acquire 104.8 acres consisting of high quality oak hickory woodland, remnant prairie pasture, CRP grassland and crop that provides documented habitat for the state and endangered Indiana Bat and threatened northern long-eared bat, as well as four additional Iowa bat species of greatest conservation need.
· Fayette County, Turkey River Recreation Trail Expansion – Elgin to Gilbertson Park and the Turkey River, $100,000 – This project will construct 6,600 linear feet of concrete recreational trail and a pretension, pre-stressed beam pedestrian bridge over the Turkey River. The project will extend the Turkey River Recreational Corridor Trail, allowing users to move safely between Elgin and Gilbertson Park. It will connect to three existing trails: a 4.8 mile trail from Elgin to Clermont and the Nims Bridge, 2.5 miles of trails in Clermont and 7 miles of trails in Gilbertson Park.
· Butler County, West Fork Forest Access Area Expansion, $190,700 – This projects aims to acquire approximate 96.87 acres adjacent to the Butler County Conservation Board’s West Fork Forest Access Area. With these acquisitions the West Fork Forest Access Area would become a 204-acre public use area. The area will be used for a variety of activates including but not limited to public hunting, fishing, hiking, nature and bird watching.
· Black Hawk County, Beck’s Forest Acquisition – $22,500 – This project will acquire 15 acres of floodplain forest located along the banks of the Cedar River in north central Black Hawk County. This parcel will be an addition to the Cedar River Wildlife Area and Black Hawk Park totaling more than 1,400 acres of public land. This property will provide outdoor recreation opportunities, watershed protection and critical habitat for wood turtles.
· Dickinson County, Milford Creek Wildlife Area – $75,600 – This project will acquire 35 acres of prairie and grassland surrounding nearly a half mile of Milford Creek. The property is located just south of the town of Milford; such close proximity for residents makes it an invaluable community resource for recreation and outdoor space to enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty. Milford Creek Wildlife Area will provide an opportunity to expand county conservation land protection and programming.
· Mitchell County, Hoffman Recreation Area Addition – $356,384 – This project will acquire 85 acres of CRP, upland and riparian forest, season oxbow wetlands and a calciferous fen. The property serves as the connection between two county areas: Otranto Park and Nelson’s Paradise Wildlife Area. In addition to the diverse flora and fauna, there are two Native American burial mounds confirmed in 2016 by the Office of the State Archeologist.
· Polk County, Jester Park Nature Center Outdoor Streamscape – $114,205 – This project will construct the Outdoor Streamscape – an area of outdoor play for youth and families featuring introductory trails, outdoor plaza, nature features and a significant meandering waterway consisting of The Headwaters, The Braided Stream and Falls and The Wetlands. This streamscape will also serve to treat water from the roof and parking lots.
REAP public private cost share grants approved
The Natural Resource Commission for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved two Resource Enhancement and Protection Public Private Cost-share grant requests from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation at its October meeting. The projects were awarded more than $510,000.
Public private grants are used for land acquisition with 75 percent of the acquisition costs come from REAP and the remaining 25 percent coming from private contributions.
REAP Private Public Grants
· Fremont County, Botna Bottoms Acquisition, $135,750 – This project will combine two EWP/WRP properties into one 179-acre tract bordering the East Nishnabotna River. Botna Bottoms contains quality wildlife habitat, including: grassland, riparian woodland, wet prairie, sedge meadow and wetland. Funds received for this project will transfer the property to the IDNR – Nishnabotna Wildlife Unit. Major benefits of this acquisition include public hunting, wildlife and plant habitat and improved water quality.
· Fremont County, Biscuitroot Bluff, $378,972 – The goal of this project is to protect and restore property in Fremont County along the Loess Hills Scenic Byway that contains rare Loess Hills remnant prairie and oak woodlands. Funds received for this project would be used for acquisition of 173.2 acres. Future use includes wildlife and native plant habitat, public hunting and scenic views.