When a railroad abandons a line and all the little towns along the line lose what little commerce they had, what else can be done?
Well, converting small strips of rail right-of-way to a few rows of corn or beans doesn't change the equation very much for the communities affected. Putting it into a railbank, like we have done, saves the corridor for any future rail use and provides a recreational opportunity for local residents as well as for tourists. It also keeps residential property values up.
In our situation, we have the unique opportunity to ultimately connect our 37-mile stretch to the Trans American Discovery Trail. Towns like Albion, Liscomb, Union, Gifford, Eldora and Steamboat Rock will see significant usage by travelers from all over the world, similar to the Appalachian Trail. This is why the city of Marshalltown is interested enough in this project that it has agreed to partner with Hardin County in this endeavor.
Like the Hardin County Trails Committee article that announced its inception years ago, the headline ran: "It takes a community." So think about the tomorrows and what we can do to help make them wonderful for those who follow