Editor’s Note: The following article was published in the Firelands Rails to Trails (FRTTI) newsletter. It is reprinted as a public service to highlight the Iowa River Trail’s economic impact to Marshall County.
The familiar song of the eastern goldfinch can be heard amidst the sound of the wind through the trees along an old industrial corridor. This corridor was once part of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway and will soon become the 34-mile Iowa River Trail from Marshalltown to Steamboat Rock.
It will be one of the most scenic bike trails in the Midwest.
The bird’s chirping is momentarily interrupted by the rhythmic staccato of one of many press brakes operating next door at Raymon Company. Founded in 1979, Raymon manufactures a custom line of air diffusers and grilles for commercial buildings. They operate from a 60,000-square-foot facility with 90 employees. CEO Larry Raymon comments on the new trail, with construction underway and sections open to trail users in Marshalltown and Steamboat Rock already.
“The proposed Iowa River Trail will offer landscapes that include 29 bridges — four of them cross the Iowa River — and have multiple community access points with towns every six to seven miles. It represents the vision of community leaders who recognize the importance of investments that result in recreational activities, cultural opportunities, improved quality of life and improved health.”
Raymon said the IRT’s impact will resonate through the decades.
“For the next 100 years, as thousands and thousands of bikers, hikers and others pass through bike trail communities, they will not only provide current financial impact on local economies but they are also potential investors in future population growth of these communities.