Community members celebrated the completion of the first portion of the Wapsipinicon Trail Oct. 4 as the ribbon was cut on the project.
“This is a huge milestone. This trail right here essentially doubles the amount of hard surface trails we have in the county,” Jones County Conservation Director Brad Mormann said.
Opportunities like the trail help encourage a healthy lifestyle, and he said he’s already seen it at work.
Mormann thanked the members of the trail committee that helped to ensure work was getting completed as needed for the trail.
City Administrator Jacob Sheridan talked about the benefits of trails, from the health benefits to the positive impact they had on property taxes and how they help attract new families, something the next speaker followed up on.
“As we look to the future of Jones County and the City of Anamosa, if we’re interested in attracting and keeping young people in our community, this is the way to do it. This is what people are looking for,” Rep. Andy McKean said. “It’s a great day for Anamosa and Jones County.”
Kris Gobeli, a member of both the Jones County Economic Development and the Grant Wood Loop board, said that when deciding whether or not to take on this project they were conscious of feedback that they had gotten from business owners that they could not find people to fill them. Projects like the trail is beneficial, not only for quality of life, but for tourism opportunities as well.
Former head of Jones County Economic Development and Wapsi Trail Committee Member Dusty Embree said the project would not have been possible without the partnerships formed by the community. She specifically singled out Jones County Engineer Janine Sulzner for her help keeping the financials of the project in order.
Dave Heiar, with the Grant Wood Loop, said since the Grant Wood Loop incorporating Jones, Jackson and Dubuque Counties was selected for the Parks to People program, more than 80 projects have been completed totaling more than $50 million.
As the community now looks to the second phase of the project, Mormann had some positive news to announce. The project recently received funds from the Federal Highway Transportation Alternative grant in the amount of $243,000, nearly half of the funds required.