Des Moines this week continued to piece together the land it needs to extend one of its bicycle and pedestrian trails and unlock access to Easter Lake on the city’s southeast side.

Phase 2 of the Des Moines River Trail would move south from the James W. Cownie Soccer Park to the lake, where Polk County is close to finishing a trail that encircles it. Ben Page, Des Moines’ parks and recreation director, said the new trails could “easily double” the number of riders in the area.

The new stretch of trail would also connect Easter Lake to downtown Des Moines and with central Iowa’s network of paths.

“It will be a very popular piece of trail,” Page said. “It’s a missing link.”

On Monday, the Des Moines City Council approved the $294,000 acquisition of a 14-acre parcel of land north of East Watrous Avenue and west of Hartford Avenue that the future trail will cut through.

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