Iowa county approves forest preserve trail despite concerns
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A county in eastern Iowa has approved a privately financed trail through a forest preserve after it was stalled due to opposition from some neighboring residents.
The Dubuque County Conservation Board voted 4-1 Thursday in favor of continuing development of the trail for the Interstate Power Co. Forest Preserve, the Telegraph Herald reported . The approval follows the board’s tie vote in November after residents raised concerns about noise and increased traffic.
“It’s something that’s going to benefit everybody,” Board Chairman Jeff Cue said.
The Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders group has been pushing for the 6-mile to 8-mile trail for the county-owned preserve. The biking group needs to raise $25,000 of the estimated $172,000 cost to build the trail.
Construction is planned for the spring. The group hopes the trail can be completed by August.
“We’re collaborating with the conservation office to ensure the installation of the trail is done in a way that respects the natural habitat,” said Brett Errthum, the group’s president.
Several residents have objected to the construction out of concern it will bring noise, traffic and erosion to the preserve.
Gerald Kress has grandchildren who live near the planned trail. He said he was under the impression that the board would request more input from neighbors before voting on the proposal again.
“This wasn’t handled the way it was supposed to be handled,” he said. “You’re shoving this in the neighborhood.”
The conservation board’s director, Brian Preston, said the board intends to create a committee with representatives from the biking group and neighboring property owners. He said the committee can monitor the project and suggest improvements.
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com