Completion of the Story County Extension of the Indian Greenbelt Trail was expected this past week. The trail, costing about $430,000, goes from South G Avenue in Nevada south to 260th Street, and is 1.7 miles in length. It includes 5-foot asphalt bike paths on both the east and west sides of the road (South 11th Street).
Laura West, an avid runner and one of the main committee members working to see the trail become a reality, said people are excited about the trail’s completion and look forward to using it. West would like to nix the “misconception” that people have that this trail is only beneficial to people living south of Nevada.
“The reality is that I see people who live inside the city limits using the road (South 11th Street) for biking, running or walking all the time; just like I use the trails inside city limits frequently,” West said.
While there were certainly a number of people who helped make this trail project a reality, the main committee members working on it with West were Elizabeth Hansen with the city of Nevada, Carol Williams with Story County Conservation and Darren Moon with Story County. This committee brought together representatives who helped show that this trail was an effort supported by the entire Nevada/Story County community.
Trail funding was also a collaborative effort, with funds coming from Story County and the city of Nevada, as well as from private donations and grants. “The trail committee applied for many grants and received funds from CIRTPA, the Tope Trust, Union Pacific and Kenny-Lindstrom Foundation,” West said. She said private donations were also made by local businesses and local residents living both inside and south of the city limits.
West said the trail was becoming very important to have because of the tremendous growth in residential development south of Nevada in that area. “Many people were using the road for recreational purposes, like biking, running and walking,” she said. An Iowa Department of Transportation needs assessment showed average traffic counts along South 11th Street to be around 880 daily. “The combination of these two factors (recreational use and increased traffic use) was making the road more dangerous,” West said.
West said there were safety concerns about one group in particular - children, who were traveling to and from places like school, the country club, SCORE and the library. “The trail will now provide a safer route for these kids, and allow them more opportunities to participate in activities.”