Marshalltown to receive $25K for IRT

Greer: ‘Grant brings art and recreation together’

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Looking west is a portion of the Iowa River Trail near the intersection of South 12th Street and Nevada Street in Marshalltown. The 10-foot wide trail begins at the Ann Keyser Trail Head at Wilson Circle and proceeds northwest to city limits.

The city of Marshalltown has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” project to enhance the Iowa River Trail.

Making the announcement Wednesday via press release was NEA Chairman Jane Chu.

The grant includes public art, wayfinding and placemaking.

“The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as the city of Marshalltown, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts.”

Once complete, the 34-mile trail will connect seven communities in Marshall and Hardin counties, linking Marshalltown, Albion, Liscomb, Union, Gifford, Eldora and Steamboat Rock.

It will offer users opportunities ranging from camping to hiking to snowmobiling.

Additionally, the trail will offer Marshalltonians safe access to the Linn Creek Recreational Trail, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA campus, adjoining aquatic center, Grimes Farm, and more.

Civic leaders, recreation and local elected officials from Marshall and Hardin counties began working on the IRT concept in 2013.

Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer was thrilled with Chu’s announcement.

“As mayor and founding member of TRAILS, Inc., I am excited to accept this grant,” he said. “Bringing art and recreation together improves the quality of life for our residents and encourages tourism in our region. The city, in partnership with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, Marshalltown Public Art Committee, TRAILS, Inc. and the Hardin County Trail Commission, are looking forward to the opportunity to plan for the IRT’s future.”

The project includes working with a consultant to develop a comprehensive design plan to extend throughout the trail.

Equally excited was Marshalltown Housing & Community Development Director Michelle Spohnheimer, who prepared the grant application.

“This is great news,” she said. “To select a consultant, we will prepare a request for qualifications, similar to how we have done some other study work to find someone with experience in public art and trails, way-finding among other skills.”

Spohnheimer said the grant will begin Aug. 1.

Consequently, she said not to expect much activity regarding consultant activity prior to Aug. 1.

Awards totaling $4.1 million were made from the Our Town program supporting projects across the nation.

For a complete list of projects recommended for grant support, visit arts.gov.

For more information about the grant application, contact Spohnheimer at (641) 754-5756, or mspohnheimer@marshalltown-ia.gov

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com