During its regular meeting Monday night, the council awarded the contract to RDG Planning & Design moving forward plans for a $225,000 project that will include restrooms, a shaded structure, parking and lots of green space.
The trailhead, located at the intersection of County Road R22 and U.S. Highway 6, is designed to resemble a bicycle wheel with spokes and should be completed sometime this summer.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail
It was back in October when city officials held a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of a 5.5 mile link in the trail connecting Waukee with Dallas Center.
In an earlier statement, Waukee Mayor Bill Peard said the trail is likely to become one of Waukee's premier destinations.
"It's a multipurpose trail, people will be able walk, run and bike on it," said Peard. "It is a regional trail system, it will increase usage because people can around the region connect to it. I assume it's going to increase the number of visitors to Waukee.
"We're very proud of it. We'd promised our citizens we would continue to expand and support our recreational facilities and this is a big step for the completion of one part of our trail system," he said.
State and federal grants, money from foundations, and donations paid for the project.
History of the Trail
According to the city of Waukee's website, the trail uses the route of a former railroad line built in the 1870s that carried vacationers from the Des Moines area to the Iowa Great Lakes region in the northwest part of the state.
By 1952, however, when the easy availability of automobiles had changed the public’s preference in traveling, passenger service on the railroad line ended. The line was used by freight trains another 35 years. In 1982, it was purchased by the Chicago and Northwestern Transportation Company, but the farm crisis in the mid-1980s led to a halt of all rail service on the route.
When the Chicago & Northwestern began considering abandoning the route, the Central Iowa Energy Cooperative purchased the right‐of‐way in late 1987.Its new life as a recreational trail was about to begin. CIECO, the Iowa Trails Council, and the Conservation Boards from Dallas and Guthrie Counties agreed in late ’87 to allow the development of a multi‐use trail on the right‐of‐way.
The first section of the Raccoon River Valley Trail opened on Oct. 7, 1989, with a 34‐mile route completed in 1990 from Waukee to Yale. A 12‐mile addition from Jefferson south to Herndon was completed in 1997. In 1999, a five‐mile extension was completed east from Waukee to connect with the Green Belt Trail in Clive, and another five miles of trail was completed to link Herndon and Yale in northern Guthrie County.
In 2001, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation helped the counties’ conservation boards complete the purchase of the right‐of‐way from CIECO. The purchase was made possible by an Iowa Trails Grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The former railroad right‐of‐way on which the 33‐mile “North Loop” of the trail is being constructed, was purchased in late 2007 from the Union Pacific Railroad. It runs northwest from Waukee through Dallas Center and Minburn to Perry, then swings west through Dawson and Jamaica before it intersects again with the RRVT in Herndon.
Bicyclists, joggers, walkers, skaters, campers, cross‐country skiers, birdwatchers, hunters, fishermen, naturalists and snowmobilers all use the Raccoon River Valley Trail.