‘Let’s Connect’ project receives $100,000 through Prairie Meadows Legacy Grant

Allison Ullmann - Staff
Rough grading and other work is continuing on the first phase of the “Let’s Connect” trail project. PHOTO COURTESY OF DALLAS COUNTY CONSERVATION BOARD

The “Let’s Connect” project recently received additional funds in the form of a $100,000 Prairie Meadows Legacy Grant.

The Dallas County Conservation Board was one of 15 other Legacy Grant recipients this year. The grant funds will help fund the nine-mile project, which will connect the Raccoon Valley River Trail and the High Trestle Trail, from Perry to Woodward.

“We’ve got a long ways to go yet, to raise the estimated $5 million. Anytime you can get a grant for $100,000, that certainly helps progress in that direction,” said Mike Wallace, Dallas County Conservation Board Director.

Earlier this spring, the progress bar on the “Let’s Connect” board moved up to 55 percent. With the $100,000 Legacy Grant, Wallace said that percentage hasn’t changed too much.

A little over half of the estimated $5 million for the connector trail project is still needed.

“But every dollar, every penny does make a difference. Whether it’s 100,000 or whether it’s 1,000,” Wallace said. “We just keep plugging along and making use of whatever opportunities funding-wise that we can find out there and apply for.”

The conservation board recently applied for a state recreational trail grant. Other upcoming funding opportunities include a federal recreational trail grant and other smaller grants.

The Legacy Grant, Wallace said, was still a significant grant for the Dallas County Conservation Board to receive.

A press release said Prairie Meadows awarded a record $5 million this year to deserving charities and organizations through their Community Betterment and Legacy Grant programs. In total, 266 grants were given to organizations throughout Central Iowa.

“As a nonprofit organization, Prairie Meadows fulfills its mission by giving back to organizations that support arts and culture, education, economic development, and human services. We are excited to see the impact these grants will have on our Central Iowa community,” said Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows’ Director of Community Relations.

The impact for the local area will be seen as work continues on the connector trail project. Wallace said work on the first 1.56 miles of the trail from 18th Street in Perry east to 130th Street has started again after wet weather delayed the project.

All of the culverts except one have been put in. Once the last culvert is put in, Wallace said work will turn to filling, compacting and grading. The paving company will then come in to fine-tune the grading before paving will begin.

Wallace said paving was planned to happen in July. He added that paving may still happen in July, with a little trickling into August. The recent drier weather has helped put the trail project back on track.

“It’s good to have that phase one construction underway,” Wallace said. “Even though it’s just a mile and a half, it’ll be a really nice section of the trail for people to use.”

The next phases of the project, he said, will happen as more funds come in. Those interested in donating can contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or visit the Let’s Connect Dallas County website.