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  • Lee Rood
  • Mon July 12 2021
  • Posted Jul 19

The big ideas central Iowa officials have forcreating new water trails,improving other recreational opportunities and parks, better protecting drinking water and preventing future flooding all have a price.

So Polk County supervisors will be asking property owners in November whether they're willing to backa 20-year, $65 million bond referendum.

The supervisors are expected to approve the addition of the question tothe Nov. 2 ballotwhen they meetTuesday.

Voters approved a similar Water and Land Legacy Bond in 2012, providing$50 million over 20 years. The county laterleveraged the bond with $41 million more in local, state and grant money, helpingpay for myriadprojects large and small aimed at improving recreational opportunities and water quality. Among them:construction of the Jester Park Nature Center,restoration of Easter LakeandlinkingtheChichaqua Valley Trailto Des Moines' northeastern suburbs.

Supervisors and conservation officials say there is high demand for more ways to enjoytrails, parks, rivers and wildlife areas.

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The 2022 Polk County Water and Land Legacy Bond also would provide funds to build new walking and biketrails and link others, carry out more targeted water quality efforts along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, andacquire landfor future projects.

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Though the move for a referendum comes as Polk County taxpayers have been complaining about higher property taxes, the use of area parks and trails reached a high-water mark last year.

More than 4.2 million people visited Polk County parks, trails and wildlife areas in 2020, a 31% increase from the year before, Rich Leopold, executive director of the Polk County Conservation Board, said.


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