SIOUX CENTER—Chilled weather aside, spring is indeed here, and with that, the Sioux Center Trails Council is continuing its work on the city’s recreational trail system.
According to trails council member Darryl Ten Pas, one of the main accomplishments last year was continued work to replace the blacktop for the path to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area, with work continuing into this year.
It’s a multiyear project with about a mile of trail left to work on, said city parks director Lee Van Meeteren.
The trail from Sioux Center to Sandy Hollow was the first bike trail project the city had done, and it’s more than 20 years old at this point.
More trail was added by the Woodbridge addition south of Sioux Center Health and along 13th Avenue Southeast during the early part of the year. The loop measures about three-tenths of a mile long.
Sioux Center’s trail system measures more than 7½ miles long.
“The city council has been great and supportive of adding trails, so that’s been helpful that they see the value and what it means for our community to continue to add sections to our system,” Ten Pas said.
Looking ahead to 2021, Ten Pas said the trails council is considering how to go about adding trails west of Highway 75, as there are none at this time.
One trail project that the city is planning with that in mind would go from Tower Fields to Walmart, with the goal of completing this section before work on the Highway 75 redesign project begins in 2023.
“By the fall, we should have a good plan and we’ll be able to share drawings and plans with the public,” Van Meeteren said.
Highway 75 has been an obstacle to continued development of trails in the city, Ten Pas said, but ongoing work by the city to redesign the highway in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation offers an opportunity to better plan future trail development and increase safety when crossing the highway.
The city hasn’t made any commitments on which trail project will be next on its list.
According to Van Meeteren, “The next couple of trail sections are in the design phase. There’s nothing concrete on what project’s going to come next. That kind of depends on the timing of getting easements in place and how the engineering comes out.”
As the city annexed a new subdivision called Highland Hills, just north of the Sunrise Trails addition, the trails council and the city are beginning to plan and prepare for future work there.
Trail will be added on the south end of town, too, to create a route from Woodbridge down to the Ridge Creek development by the city wastewater treatment plant.
The idea there, according to Van Meeteren, is to provide the families and children there with a safe walking and cycling path to Kinsey Elementary in Sioux Center.
“The main point for our trails is to connect the community,” Van Meeteren said. “We want to have safe routes to school for the kids and have safe routes to our parks.”