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  • Thu February 16 2017
  • Posted Feb 16, 2017

Following a series of meetings about the extension of Veterans Parkway and its potential to impact landowners and Great Western Trail users, volunteers formed a group of stakeholders interested in exploring additional options.

Stakeholders included representatives of trail users, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Warren County Supervisors, Warren County Conservation Board, Polk County Conservation Board, Warren County Economic Development, City of West Des Moines Parks and Parks Commission, WDM Bicycle Advisory, WDM City Manager's office, WDM Engineering, the City of Carlisle. Two meetings were facilitated at the Raccoon River Nature Lodge (Jan 26 and Feb 9). The second meeting included two landowners as well.


Representing the trails community: Mark Ackelson, Jim Lane, Scott Richardson, Scott Sumpter, and Carl Voss

Option E2

This proposal, presented by West Des Moines, shows Veterans Parkway running adjacent to the 100'-wide linear park that includes the trail. According to the city, there will be no additional road crossings of the Great Western Trail than exist presently. The linear park/trail corridor will be just as it is now.

This option links to the Veterans Parkway connection point, as was envisioned in past planning efforts. The initial two lanes (nearest the trail) will be built while working closely with impacted homeowners. The intent is to keep the trail and its surrounding parkland open during construction.

The stakeholders group recommends Option E2. The West Des Moines City Council will make the final decision.

Additional Considerations

The stakeholders further suggest:

* Supporting a strong aesthetic for the roadway/boulevard

* Emphasizing best practices in safety for any future trail connections or crossings

* Using enhanced aesthetics and sound mitigation (particularly in the vicinity of the Adams cul de sac)

* Landscaping/buffering of the Great Western Trail Linear Park as much as possible

* Considering agriculture buffers and/or overlay for safety and resources protection

* Reviewing possibility of an enhanced trail head

* Funding and connection options be pursued (see below)

* Work for continuous improvement of communications on the part of all involved

Researching funding options to maintain the Great Western Trail. Since the trail is not affected, the Warren County Conservation Board (WCCB) will not be required to vote on option E2. At the same time, the City of West Des Moines has offered to work with WCCB on strategies for trail maintenance going forward. The tax base provided by the Microsoft project is a great source for Warren County to provide a revenue stream for a debt service levy if the county chooses to do so. Warren County currently has zero debt. Also, West Des Moines leadership will approach area business owners and developers to consider providing seed money for a maintenance fund. WCCB currently faces ongoing, substantial challenges in maintaining its trails with the budget available (24.5 miles of trail with $10,000 per year for maintenance, according to Director Jim Priebe).

Look to expand trail connections. Stakeholders recommend connections to the planned Fox Valley Neighborhood Park, connections to Raccoon River Park and inter/intra county connections.

Upcoming

The City of West Des Moines plans to host an open house where staff will be available for all interested parties to ask questions and review the options. The date will be widely publicized, and promoted through the same avenues used to distribute this stakeholder Information.


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Thanks Carl, you are the Godfather of Central Iowa Bike Trails!

#1 - MrPeske posted Feb 16, 2017


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