ADEL, Iowa — A groundbreaking celebration was held Friday afternoon for the Kinnick to Raccoon Trail Improvement Project, a beautification effort of landscaping and lighting on the quarter-mile stretch of the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) between Nile Kinnick Drive S. (U.S. Highway 169) and the Raccoon River.
The $125,000 project will see the trail lined with a variety of plants, shrubs and trees, donated by Bent Creek Ridge in Urbandale and Harvey’s Greenhouse in Adel. The landscaping is intended to soften the experience for trail users passing through the old Adel industrial zone.
Equally eye catching will be the lighting scheme for the RRVT bridge over the Raccoon River.
After two years of steady work spearheaded by Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce Director Deb Bengston and Adel Partners member Rebecca Hilmer, the Kinnick to Raccoon Trail Improvement Project Committee raised $108,000 of its $125,000 goal for the beautification plan, with the balance of funding expected to come from a REAP grant.
Mike Wallace, director of the Dallas County Conservation Board, which owns the RRVT, was among the shovel-wielding groundbreakers at Friday’s ceremony. Wallace said the trail “embraces not just Adel but all of Dallas County and central Iowa.”
This week the Dallas County Conservation Board approved a $59,667 contract for the bridge lighting, to be paid with funds raised Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce’s Kinnick to Raccoon Trail Improvement Project Committee. The conservation board also approved the United Brick and Tile Co.’s purchase of replacement trees from De Soto-based Xtreme Tree Inc. for planting at the trailhead park in Adel.
Also turning a spade at Friday’s ceremony, Adel Mayor Jim Peters touted the “economic opportunities” for tourism that will flow from “another wonderful Adel park.” Peters said he remembered flattening pennies on the old Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad line that once ran where the bike trail now stands.
Also joining in the groundbreaking honors were Elizabeth Holland, Tina Krug, Tim Canney, Kristi Fuller, Mary Hinton, Gary Brons, Alica Hadfield, Ashley Cline and Shirley McAdon. Robert Fisher of Adel said he is a frequent trail user, and Ruth Patience of Adel, with her little charge, Leo, 2, in tow, said the trail brings valuable tourist dollars to town.
Corporate funders for the beautification project included Adel Sweet Corn 5K Race, Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce, City of Adel, Lincoln Saving Bank Foundation, Cramer and Associates, Red Fern Landscaping Design, Solid Ground, Kading Properties, McClure Engineering, South Dallas County Landfill, Big Green Media, Dallas County Foundation and Dallas County Conservation Board.