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Construction of Le Mars-to-Sioux City trail to begin in 2020

June 24, 2019
In this June 15, 2019, photo Laurie Gray of Le Mars and her husband Allen Gray ride bikes on Le Mars Recreational Trail in Le Mars, Iowa. The proposed PlyWood Trail would link Le Mars' trails with Sioux City's, with the 16-mile trail also passing through the cities of Merrill and Hinton. (Justin Wan/Sioux City Journal via AP)
In this June 15, 2019, photo Laurie Gray of Le Mars and her husband Allen Gray ride bikes on Le Mars Recreational Trail in Le Mars, Iowa. The proposed PlyWood Trail would link Le Mars' trails with Sioux City's, with the 16-mile trail also passing through the cities of Merrill and Hinton. (Justin Wan/Sioux City Journal via AP)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Work on a proposed multimillion dollar trail connecting Sioux City and Le Mars is expected to begin next year.

The Plywood trail, linking Plymouth and Woodbury counties, will cost an estimated $18 million and will span 16 miles (26 kilometers), the Sioux City Journal reported. It’s projected for completion in 2025, according to Lesley Bartholomew with the PlyWood Trail Committee.

Le Mars-based Wells Enterprise, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream company, has pledged $4 million toward the project, and Bartholomew thought more people would be motivated to donate when they saw parts of the trail completed.

“It is kind of a wait-and-see attitude for some individuals,” said Bartholomew, who is also the spokeswoman for Wells Enterprise. “We are talking to some potential large donors whose interest is piqued.”

The committee is also seeking state and federal grants, including one that’s expected to be awarded next month.

Dave Bak is an avid bicyclist and welcomes the trail for the safety it would offer.

“It would be good to be able to safely ride longer distances, to pull the communities together,” said Bak, president of the Plymouth County Cyclists group.

Bartholomew noted that trails improve quality of life by boosting economic development and drawing people to the area.

“Young people in particular appreciate trails and the ability to get outside,” she said. “This will be a unique feature for Northwest Iowa, to connect four cities.”

Not everyone shares Bartholomew’s enthusiasm.

Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Kass said that while the board isn’t “anti-bike trail,” only 2% of people are avid bicyclists. He said it would be unfair for to use taxpayer money for maintenance since some county residents will never use the trail.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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