Muscatine's trail system is already outgrowing its map.

While the latest map is still young— Muscatine City Planner Andrew Fangman put the most recent one together only two years ago— the city's ever-growing system of trails stretches back over three decades, and it's been growing since the 1970s, said Public Works Director Randy Hill. He added, the city doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Today, the trail system winds in and around Muscatine, and is part of the city's downtown centerpiece, the riverfront. Thousands of walkers, joggers, runners, bikers, skaters, and a small amount of of dogs, put their feet — and paws — on the paved trail system. Some use it for recreation, others for exercise, and others for a two-wheeled commute to work.

The trail system in Muscatine, known as the Running River Trail System, spans approximately 17 miles, with another nine miles planned for 2015. The new expansion will connect Musser Park to the Wiggins Road Trail. The project will be funded by $510,000 in federal money, $300,000 from a state recreation trail grant, and matched local funds. The city of Muscatine is also contributing about $50,000 of in-kind engineering services for the $922,000 project.

The trail's addition will be 10-feet wide and begin at Kent-Stein Park near the Soccer Complex in Muscatine and run 3.4 miles to 41st Street. This will complete Muscatine’s segment of the Mississippi River Trail, which runs along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana.

Another portion of the trail's expansion will run through the heart of Muscatine, alongside one of the city's main thoroughfares.

The Cedar Street project, which began summer 2014, includes a trail on the north side of Cedar. The trail will run along the high school property to Fuller Park and on to Discovery Park.

“Those are the types of segments we’re working to connect,” said Hill. “We have some really good, lengthy segments of trails and are now focusing on filling in the gaps.”

The next segment in the long-term plan includes a connecting trail from the riverfront to the Mad Creek Greenbelt Trail, which runs through the greenbelt of the same name, located between Lake Park Boulevard and The Douglas King Memorial Expressway. The Muscatine Trails Committee plans to begin looking into the expansion plans next fall for construction in 2016-17, depending on funding.

The riverfront trails are the most popular and most used, according to Hill, who said that all of the trails are bike and pet-friendly. The community will have a chance to tour the trails during the first Healthy Living Festival held from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18.

Anyone wishing to become involved in the Muscatine Trails Committee can attend the next meeting at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the public works building, 1459 Washington St.





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