PERRY, Iowa — Dallas County Conservation recently started construction on a trail that would connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail.
“People go from Ankeny to Woodward on the High Trestle Trail and have to stop and of course the Raccoon River Valley Trail, even though it has a loop, there’s a gap and lots of people would like to go on to Woodward,” Dallas County Conservation Board Director Mike Wallace said.
Wallace said the $5 million project would stretch nine miles to connect Perry and Woodward, but due to a lack of funding has to be completed in phases.
“The people that want to use the trail want it done yesterday and so do we, the people that are building the trail. But with state and federal budget cuts, some of our main funding sources are no longer as plentiful and it just takes longer,” Wallace said
Workers started clearing the path for the first mile and a half of the connector and officials said even though it will be a dead end it will build excitement for residents and prospective donors.
“The Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail are probably the two most impressive and popular trails in the midwest, if not the country. So to be able to be the community where those two trails meet it’s just almost endless opportunities,” Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson said.
Peterson said he’s going to ride a 1,500 pound bull to help with the fundraising efforts.
“Friday the 15th of June I’ll be down at the Dallas County Fair rodeo at 7:30 p.m. And people have been donating money in one of two ways, either a flat donation or per second that I stay on. So hopefully I can stay on a full eight seconds, but we’ll see how that goes,” Peterson said.
He said cycling is a very significant part of the community and central Iowa as a whole.
“Bicycling is something that is important and it is something that is a benefit not only to locals but it’s a huge tourism aspect as well,” Peterson said.
To donate to the project you can go to the project web page.