At a Buena Vista County meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25 Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse carried proposed trail plans in hand for the supervisors approval. Along with him was a priority list with maps created by the BV County trails committee.
First priority on the list was completion of the Storm Lake loop trail and will, from what they have heard, please people as it has been a high interest topic.
Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse says in order to apply for funding a plan must be compiled as suggested by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
"They have told us if your not organized getting funding and those sort of things is going to be tough without a plan," explained Kruse.
As for the plan there should be a priority list that remains flexible in order to accommodate any grants that may spring up. Another recommendation from the IDOT is to "think big."
"When you are going to think about this dream big and think big. It's very hard to ammend plan to be bigger later on," says Supervisor Dale Arends.
When the trails committee does start applying for grants they will include in the details the plans they have compiled so far. Kruse serves as a chairman for the committee noting that the plans do reach for the sky making the goals hefty. They group has been given the advice to dream big, so they are doing just that.
Kruse says, "I see this as a twenty year plan, and with the hard road surface trails probably longer than that. When dealing with a variety of government entities and dealing with grant approvals when you get off road it becomes a long drive. This isn't pessimism, it's reality."
Funding the trails has different challenges depending on the surface of the trails. Mountain bike trails will need some sort of crushed rock while paved trails require the pouring of cement which can be more expensive. Paved trails are estimated to cost $300,000 for one single mile.
Two of the first priorities for the group is the completion of the Storm Lake loop trail and signing the drive trail.
"We are going to be getting done what people like to see first, but then doing funding for what we have first," Kruse comments. "The trail most desirable from input we have received and has become the highest priority is the trail around Storm Lake."
He believes the trail around the lake could take awhile, but they plan to move ahead despite the challenges. One challenge discussed was the dangers of having bikers on County Road 65 and Highway 110. Where and how they maneuver these two challenging roads depends on how the trail in Storm Lake connects to the trails that go out into other parts of the county.
As of now the trail around Storm Lake still goes on C65 and 110. They are considering locating these trails a distance off the roads to lessen the dangers.
Some trails could be located on shoulders of new roads if widened to eight feet instead of the typical four feet. Widening will occur on the north junction of Highway 7 and Highway 20 according to information from the DOT the committee has viewed.