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COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa -- Bev Nielsen had one word for Columbus Junction city officials Wednesday, but she repeated it three times for emphasis.

“Volunteers, volunteers, volunteers,” the city’s parks and recreation commission chair told the city council during her report on RABGRAI preparations.

“We need them,” she said.

Nielsen, who has been working with community development director Mallory Smith to prepare for the more than 10,000 bicycle riders and support personnel expected to pass through the community on the last day of the annual ride across Iowa, said local officials had been working to prepare for the influx, but now more bodies are needed.

Nielsen said local planners had been told by RAGBRAI officials that signage and directions are important for riders, so those would receive special attention.

She said a sign center will be set up at the Louisa County Conservation Board’s Eden Park to provide riders with information on what will be available in the Columbus area. She said volunteers are needed July 18 and 19 to help create the signs.

Anyone wishing to help can meet at city hall beginning at 8 a.m. either day. The group will work until 5 p.m. on July 18 and 8 p.m. on July 19.

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