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  • Sat December 02 2006
  • Posted Dec 2, 2006
LeCLAIRE, Iowa — The pieces are slowly fitting together for plans to connect Scott County with a regional recreation trail that stretches from Clinton to Muscatine County along the Mississippi River. Officials and residents from LeClaire, Princeton and River Action Inc. recently mulled over plans to design a trail between the two Scott County cities during a meeting at LeClaire City Hall. “We have some funds for trail development, and the cities are starting to realize the importance of trails,” said Kathy Wine, the executive director of River Action. Several communities in the county are committed to the development or extension of trails along the river, she said. For instance, plans are in the works for a path between Buffalo to Muscatine, a pedestrian bridge at Credit Island Park in Davenport and extension of the Bettendorf-Riverdale trail from the Interstate 74 bridge to Duck Creek. A future piece would focus on the wetlands area north of Princeton up to the Wapsipinicon River. Wine estimates the cost for a preliminary engineering study probably will run about $40,000. River Action is willing to commit about $20,000 toward that, and the two cities and Scott County could split the remainder, she said. A study will help identify a route and put together preliminary cost estimates. The group will meet again in December, and Wine hopes to have representatives from engineering firms there to talk about how they would handle the preliminary study. That information would help increase the group’s chances of getting a trails and recreation grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation, or DOT, and of successfully applying for federal funds, she said. The application for the DOT grant needs to be submitted by July. Officials say parts of the route definitely will pose challenges. The LeClaire portion would extend through the city limits along the Mississippi River. “I think the most difficult area is the area north of the levee up to Chestnut Street,” City Administrator Edwin Choate said. Most of that six- to seven-block stretch is privately owned, and the city will need easements from property owners. The City of Princeton discussed the idea of a bike path during the 1990s, City Council member Penne Miller said. About half of the people endorsed the idea and another 50 percent opposed it. The issue just seemed to die a natural death, she said. Portions of the Princeton path could extend along River Drive, but the city would have to keep the trail separate from areas where boaters park vehicles and trailers during the summer, Princeton Mayor Keith Youngers said. For many people, a marked trail would give them more opportunities for their favorite outdoor activities. Bicycling on U.S. 67 is dangerous, especially when competing for the roadway with larger vehicles, LeClaire resident Tom Licea said. “Based on my experience when I lived close to the Duck Creek path, I think it will be a great addition for young and old alike and a great addition to the community from a fitness viewpoint,” he said. “It’s no doubt that this will enhance the quality of life in the Iowa Quad-Cities.” The city desk can be contacted at (563) 383-2450 or newsroom@qctimes.com.

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