FAYETTE, Iowa (October 17, 2012) — Upper Iowa University and the City of Fayette have been notified that the Iowa Transportation Commission has approved $700,000 for the Fayette Volga River Multiuse Trail. The money will extend the Fayette bike trail from old Highway 150 north to the Volga River Recreation area – about 2.5 miles.
"We have been working on this project for some time," said Andrew Wenthe, UIU vice president of external affairs. "We see completion of this project as supporting economic development of the area because it will provide 80,000 annual visitors to the Recreation Area with direct and easier access to the stores and businesses in the city of Fayette."
"This has been an important joint effort between the city, UIU, and local property owners," added Fayette City Administrator Christie Dennis. "We are very excited to be moving forward with this project."
"We are pleased to have been able to submit a successful grant to the Department of Transportation," said Wendell Snodgrass, UIU vice president for advancement, development and alumni. "The city gave us a lot of material to work with, and we are grateful for their ongoing support of our joint efforts to advance the economic development of the area."
The $700,000 grant for the Volga trail project was part of more than $3 million in grants awarded to State Recreational Trails Program projects this week. Eight projects were approved for funding by the Iowa Transportation Commission. The State Recreational Trails Program was created in 1988 with the purpose of developing and maintaining recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized trail users. This funding is available to cities, counties, state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations through an annual, application-based program.
Wenthe noted that the city built the original Fayette bike trail and applied for and received a $75,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources REAP (resource enhancement and protection) program last fall to jump start construction on the extension. The University and the city have each pledged $100,000 toward completion of the trail project, much of which has been spent on engineering costs and acquiring property from three landowners to make room for the trail's extension.
"The city and the University are still trying to raise another $140,000 from private donors so that we can enhance the trail," Wenthe said. "We'd like to install a picnic area at the highest point, which has a beautiful panoramic view of the county, and we'd like to post educational signage on the trail about the many different ecosystems that thrive along the trail."
Although grant guidelines for the current DOT award have not yet been received, the city and the University hope construction will begin in spring 2013. Completion will depend on fund-raising and weather conditions.
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing