July 21, 2022 – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded $3.5 million jointly to Black Hawk and Linn County Conservation to pave 16 miles of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. This project would complete the original 52-mile trail, connecting the Waterloo/Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids metropolitan areas entirely by the trail.
Fully paving and completing the Cedar Valley Nature Trail has been a goal across numerous urban and rural communities since the project began in the mid-1980s. The trail, through 11 cities and five counties in the region, makes it a popular recreational attraction in the state of Iowa. The Cedar Valley Nature trail is free for the public to utilize for non-motorized recreation and has been serving as the backbone trail for many existing and planned connecting trails. This grant award allows the final trail hard surfacing connection to be made all at once.
“The Linn County Conservation Board has been working with Black Hawk County Conservation the past several years to complete small sections of trail at a time,” said Dennis Goemaat, Linn County Conservation Executive Director. “The Cedar Valley Trail has provided numerous benefits to local residents and visitors to our communities.”
The project itself would pave the current trail surface of crushed limestone and dirt from just east of La Porte City south to Highway 150 at Urbana. The project will also include needed bridge replacements, box culverts, and watershed controls to improve drainage and water quality along streams and creeks adjacent to the trail. Final project design work is underway. Additional funding for this project will involve local funds, including the Linn County Water and Land Legacy Bonds, American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, as well as gifts and donations.
Mike Hendrickson, Executive Director of Black Hawk County Conservation stated, “This project will serve to compliment the many recreational, cultural, and social venues along its path. The completion of this project will boost tourism in this region and the State of Iowa as a whole.”
The $100 million Destination Iowa program, announced in April, invests in transformational attractions that will bolster the quality of life in Iowa communities, enhance tourism and attract new residents. Funding for this program is being made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.