‘Let’s Connect’ phase 1 ribbon cutting set for Oct. 12

Submitted to The Chief
The paved paths are popular with bike riders and also provide recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers and skaters. PHOTO SUBMITTED TO THE PERRY CHIEF

A 1.5-mile section of newly constructed trail will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, in Perry. The event will take place off of 18th Street, just north of the Perry High School.

“The Let’s Connect Trail is now a reality for the community,” said Mike Wallace, Dallas County Conservation Board Executive Director. “We invite the community to help us recognize this important milestone.”

The ribbon cutting will feature speakers from the Conservation Board, the City of Perry, Perry Community School District and the VanKirk Family. The Perry High School Band will provide the soundtrack for the bash and the Hotel Pattee will contribute a light lunch for the event.

“We are especially honored to have the VanKirk family on hand for this grand opening,” Wallace said.

He added that the late Dallas “Pete” VanKirk, who was recently recognized for his community support at a Wall of Witnesses dedication, along with his wife Joyce, were early proponents and supporters for the Let’s Connect Trail vision.

“It’s important to also recognize Kirk and Darek VanKirk who really came through by donating an important section of the property needed for this Phase 1 project,” Wallace said.

The Let’s Connect Trail will eventually bring the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails together by linking Perry and Woodward. During the summer of 2018, crews built the initial 1.5-mile path working east of Perry. Phase 2, slated to begin in 2019, will start in Woodward and work west. The 9-mile route has been mapped out and option agreements are in place. The $5 million project will continue moving forward as funding comes in.

Providing recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, bikers, skiers and skaters, the network of paved trails in central Iowa has proven to be a real boost economically for the region. The Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails host hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, and the anticipation of the new trail has created a buzz of enthusiasm for trail users and areas businesses.

The Let’s Connect Trail resonates throughout the region, and this is evident by the number of individual donations that have come in supporting the project. If you’d like to contribute, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or visit online at www.dallascountyiowa.gov/conservation or www.letsconnectdallascounty.com.