• Tue April 07 2009
  • Posted Apr 7, 2009
This is very late notice, but if you are available late Wednesday morning (yes, tomorrow, April 8), I'd ask that you consider attending the Vision Iowa Board/CAT Committee's meeting that will be held at the Hotel Pattee in Perry. The meeting time is approximately 11 a.m. We need a show of broad support for our application for CAT funds to help pay for the "North Loop" addition to the RRVT. Let me share a note from Mike Wallace, the Dallas County Conservation director, who has been our "point person" on the application to Vision Iowa/CAT: "The Vision Iowa/CAT Board will be meeting April 8, 2009 at the Hotel Pattee in Perry at approximately 11:00 a.m. We have yet to receive any CAT money from Vision Iowa for our RRVT Addition project. Since the CAT Board is meeting in our own backyard we should show our strength and commitment for our project by showing up in force. We will not be presenting anything but an update on our efforts, so only a couple of our group will speak. However, to have a large group present standing in support of the project would help. Please try to attend this meeting next week on April 8 at the Hotel Pattee in Perry." As most of you know, I feel very strongly about this. I think it is time for the Vision Iowa Board/CAT Committee to step up on this project. I don't believe that in the entire history of the program they have seen such a regionally-based infrastructure project as ours -- which has been endorsed and funded by governments and/or community clubs in all 14 towns on the RRVT as well as in the three counties the trail crosses. When you include federal and state trail development funding we have received, we have raised $3 million in government and community club funding. In addition, Wallace has spearheaded an effort that has raised more than $200,000 in corporate, organizational and individual donations. So, we have brought $3.2 million to the table. We are about $2.5 million short of what we need to complete the project. Our application has been in Vision Iowa/CAT hands for 15 months. We have been in negotiations with the CAT committee. They keep telling us we have to raise more from local governments or privately, and we are now telling them we think we have already come very close to maxing out the possibilities, if indeed we haven't already reached that point. We believe that completion of the "North Loop" on the RRVT is going to inspire growth in the number of trail users from about 125,000 per year now to three or four times that. We have had several businesses start up or begin renovations in anticipation of that growh, hence the trail is helping grow the tax base, as well as having adding and retaining jobs -- most of them in locally-owned small businesses. Now, let me add one more thing, speaking as a Greene Countian: This county is one of only five or six in the whole state, and the only one in central Iowa, that has not received ANY Vision Iowa or CAT funding in the approximate 10 years that this program has been in existence. Many other rural Iowa counties like ours have received millions of dollars for their projects. I believe this current trail enhancement project is critical to our county's future. So, I urge you, whether you are from Greene County or beyond, to take a stand at Wednesday morning's Vision Iowa/CAT meeting at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, with Mike Wallace and the other RRVT Association board members who will be there. Thanks for considering, and again, sorry for the late notice. Chuck Offenburger, Secretary RRVT Association 515-370-2659 (cell)

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