• Wed March 11 2009
  • Posted Mar 11, 2009
Des Moines By DAVE DOLMAGE With a little more hard work, Evan Shaw may soon be able to ride his bike to work. Shaw, the vice president of the Gray's Lake Neighborhood Association, has been working to get a trail built that will connect his neighborhood with Gray's Lake. The proposed trail would run north from First Unitarian Church's lower parking lot, 1800 Bell Ave., cross the former railroad tracks and link up with the city's newest trail, which takes bicyclists, joggers and dog walkers from Gray's Lake to Water Works Park or to Principal Park. Shaw hopes the trail, which he estimates would cost $250,000 to $500,000, would make it easier for residents to enjoy Gray's Lake. For him, a downtown worker, the trail would also provide easy access to his office. "The No. 1 complaint that people in our neighborhood had was that they wanted to be able to walk to Gray's Lake," Shaw said. Des Moines City Councilwoman Christine Hensley, who represents the Gray's Lake neighborhood, said she plans to meet with Shaw and the neighborhood association to see what she can do to help them get the trail built. Hensley said she understands that the trail will give the Gray's Lake residents easy access to the lake, which is important since many of the streets in that neighborhood don't have sidewalks. "The neighborhood association has come together and I want to make sure we get this done for them," Hensley said. Shaw estimates that if planners use the shortest route, the stretch of trail would be approximately 550 feet long. The trail would be similar to other trails in the Des Moines system - about 10 feet wide with an asphalt surface. Plans are also under way for landscaping around the trail. Business owners on Bell Avenue have already indicated to Shaw that they are willing to provide an easement to allow the trail through their property. So the biggest question that remains for the neighborhood association is where to come up with the money needed to build the trail. Shaw and the rest of the Gray's Lake Neighborhood Association hope that the city will be able to help with some of the financing needed. "It has to be a collaboration between the city, businesses and the neighborhood," Shaw said. Hensley said she hopes that she can help foster some of that collaboration. "I'm very supportive of this and I want to make sure it happens," she said.

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