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  • MOLLY MONTAG
  • Tue December 13 2016
  • Posted Dec 13, 2016

City officials are working with a Des Moines-based foundation to buy five miles of abandoned railroad line to make into a bike trail through the heart of Mason City.

The trail, called the High Line Bike Trail, would stretch from north and south through the city. It would connect to the south with trails leading to Clear Lake, and would take users north to the Lime Creek Nature Center.

City officials are currently negotiating with two of the landowners, Union Pacific Railroad and Backtrack, Inc. for sale of the land to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

The foundation will buy the land, which is currently being appraised, and sell it back to the city over time, said Mason City Administrator Brent Trout.

"This is considered to be one of the rare opportunities you get to be able to put a trail through the middle of town through some of the most scenic property that exists," he said.

One of several rail tracks in the city, the future bike trail is a no-longer-active line that runs parallel and just east of South Carolina Avenue from 19th Street Southeast up to East State Street. It crosses over East State on the trestle, then bends west across Willow Creek.

The line stops on the north side of the city near Calmus Creek, not far from the Winnebago River Trail.

Union Pacific owns from 19th Street Southeast up to 13th Street Northeast. Another company, Backtrack, Inc., owns the line north of 13th.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is participating in the purchase through its Rails for Trails program.

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Click here to read Mason City's agreement with Union Pacific for bike trail line/Quiet Zones

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