Mayor: ‘Iowa River Trail to be huge asset’

T-R FILE PHOTO From this Nov. 21 photo, a group of Iowa Valley Bicycle Club members are shown after cleaning-up brush, tree limbs, garbage and other debris on the Iowa River Trail. Club members worked in teams from 4th Street to 12th Street. The city’s Parks & Recreation and Public Works departments provided equipment and staff.

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of two articles about city-wide progress in 2016. The first appeared  Sunday.

Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance and other community leaders believe “quality of life” issues are important to the community’s development.

And that is why ongoing work with the Iowa River Trail made his list as a 2016 community highlight.

Lowrance said Marshalltown is a Central Iowa leader in utilizing private-public partnerships, and the IRT is a perfect example.

Beginning in 2013, a number of Marshall County residents working as TRAILS, Inc. have been raising a significant amount of money from private donations, as well as receiving funds from business-sponsored and local philanthropic foundations.

They also were successful in getting a $30,000 allotment from the city earlier this year.

Their mission: develop and install a paved, multi-purpose, 34-mile recreational trail from Marshalltown to Steamboat Rock.

TRAILS, Inc., is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the Marshall County portion.

It begins at Wilson Circle, and proceeds northwest to the end of Summit Street, then north along the former Iowa River Railroad right-of-way through Albion and Liscomb to the Marshall County-Hardin County line. Some residents will remember it as the former Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad line.

Accordingly, TRAILS, Inc. is working in partnership with a group of like-minded Hardin County residents who are responsible for installation and development of the Hardin County portion.

In September, TRAILS, Inc. passed a major milestone in its effort to pave the Marshall County portion.

A Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation challenge grant of $62,000 was matched.

Large and small donations came from citizens and businesses, coupled with the city’s contribution of $30,000 moved the project forward.

“The development of the Iowa River Trail is another example of the hometown Iowa quality of living we are so proud to have in Marshalltown,” said Karn Gregorie, executive director for the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation. “Our community met the challenge grant with great enthusiasm!”

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.

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

Funds raised earlier this year included a $75,000 matching grant from The Wellmark Foundation to help complete Trails, Inc., first goal, which is to hard surface the

2.2-mile Iowa River Trail within Marshalltown at Wilson Circle by the 3rd Street bridge to the northwest end of Summit Street bridge. The group plans to have this portion of the trail completed by late 2017.

With the challenge grant received, the group is now looking to raise money for the engineering and construction of goal 3. For more information, visit

Trails, Inc. goals

Goal 1: Hard surface the 2.2-mile Iowa River Trail within Marshalltown

Location: Wilson Circle area by 3rd Street bridge to northwest end of Summit Street


Completion target: 2017

Goal 2: Construct trail, trailhead, and pave alleys to the community Y area

Location: Wilson Circle area by 3rd Street bridge to community YMCA-YWCA area

Completion target: 2017

Goal 3: Hard surface the 5-mile Iowa River Trail from the edge of Marshalltown to


Completion target: 2019-2020

Goal 4: Hard surface the 8-mile Iowa River Trail from Albion to Hardin county line.

Completion target: 2022-2023.

Trails Inc. is responsible for maintaining the Marshall County portion of the trail after it is completed, said organization president Terry Briggs.


Contact Mike Donahey at  641-753-6611 or