The Marshalltown City Council will likely vote whether to expand the existing Nicholson-Ford OHV Park on Monday.
Currently utilizing approximately 100 acres with nearly 20 miles of wooded trails, the OHV Park Club now wishes to add another 90 acres in the name of recreation.
The additional acres are owned by both the city and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. If approved, the area will become the responsibility of the OHV Park Club and the DNR will place property line fencing and absorb the cost.
While the project has gained the support of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitor's Bureau for its potential impact on economic development, opposition of the project lingers in the background.
Letters and e-mails to council from property owners along nearby Taylor Avenue express concern about noise levels. Others say it doesn't make sense to expand for an 18-member club.
Ultimately, the overlying concern is about the detriment of the land originally acquired as a wildlife area.
While calls, e-mails and letters are great ways to communicate with council members, the council has heard from proponents of the project at the podium during several council meetings.
We urge those with a differing view to take the same opportunity on Monday night.
The job of the city council is to make informed decisions while considering all sides of the issue. It seems the opposition needs to come forth with its ideas and direct them to the council just as the proponents have.
Whether you feel the OHV Park is a recreational asset or a sacrifice or our natural resources, we invite you to express those views to the council.