City council OKs trailhead bridge design agreement on split vote

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY Marshalltown Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard addresses the city council during Monday night’s meeting. The council voted 4-3 to proceed with a $50,000 design agreement with Snyder and Associates for the Linn Creek trailhead and bridge.

The Marshalltown city council discussed and ultimately approved moving forward on a $50,000 contract for design services on two of the four local projects in the Linn Creek District to benefit from Destination Iowa grant funding during Monday night’s meeting on a 4-3 vote.

The city has received a total of $2 million in grant funding, which is administered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), and the projects must be completed by the end of 2025 to qualify. As Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard explained, three applications were submitted for the trailhead and bridge work, and city staff and a steering committee decided that Snyder and Associates had the best proposal.

The Ankeny-based company is known for designing the High Trestle Trail Bridge and others around the Des Moines metro area, and Hubbard said he felt they could bring something “unique” to this project, which calls for the placement of a trailhead in the Linn Creek District and the construction of a bridge across the creek itself to connect to the Freedom Rock and the American Legion. Hubbard said there has been no final determination on whether to keep the current old 6th Street road bridge and convert it to a pedestrian and bicycle only structure or demolish it to build something completely new, and the skatepark could either be moved within its current confines as a result of the trailhead placement or elsewhere in the Linn Creek District altogether.

Councilor Greg Nichols offered up the first question of the night, checking in with Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO John Hall to see how fundraising efforts are coming along. Hall responded that final documents are still being put together to “go out and hit everything hard,” and a fundraising committee is also being assembled.

“What I can say pretty confidently is that (in) the handful of meetings we’ve had, we’ve received probably more positive feedback than we even expected both in terms of excitement for getting the project done as well as expectations of what we should be asking for from those entities for funds,” he said. “I can’t sit here and say we’ve got hard commitments on a good chunk of it, but I’d say soft commitment wise, we feel like we are making very strong momentum to have funds secured by the time that it comes to actually doing the bids on these projects, which I think is ultimately what you all will need to see in order to have confidence to move forward.”

Nichols followed up by asking about the timeframe for the efforts, and Hall said the goal is to have at least 80 percent of the commitments secured by July or August so that the projects can go to bid “sooner rather than later.”

Hubbard then added that the trailhead and bridge projects are both within about $50,000 of being fully funded already as the trailhead has $560,000 in general obligation bonds and a $200,000 commitment from TRAILS Inc. while $700,000 in GO bonds are allotted for the bridge. The water plaza, on the other hand, will require about $1.3 million in additional fundraising on top of the Destination Iowa grant, a Wellmark grant and the GO bonds already committed.

“I just wanted to clarify that for these two parts of the project, we’re looking really good,” Hubbard said.

During the public comment period, Leigh Bauder raised questions about how the skatepark on South 6th Street would be affected and if some equipment would potentially be moved elsewhere as she frequently sees youngsters enjoying the park. She also asked about revamping the current pedestrian bridge as opposed to removing it and building a new one and sought clarification on a section of the contract that said Story County instead of Marshall County.

Mark Eaton expressed concern about the private property owners in the area who would be affected and whether easement contracts had been signed with them, specifically citing Wayward Social and opining that the city’s negotiating power was being put in jeopardy.

Joe Carter offered a more positive take on the project and indicated that the issue regarding Wayward Social and other affected landowners had already been resolved.

“This is a great project. (We’ve) gotta make sure this thing goes, and (IEDA Director) Debi Durham is not gonna be happy if we can’t get this all done by the time she shows up on Feb. 15,” Carter said.

Councilor Jeff Schneider responded to a few of the concerns raised and said more of the design process would need to unfold before any final determination was made on the skatepark.

“The intention is for all the pieces to remain. They may not be in the exact same spot they are today, but probably in the same area,” he said.

He described Snyder and Associates as “bridge experts” who were investigating what could be saved in the current bridge structure. Hall then returned to the podium to discuss the excitement around the projects, especially the opportunity to hop on a bike and ride until one can find a place to have a drink.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to a trailhead where I can then bike down to Wayward Social, which is about the distance I can bike, before then biking onto the Legion, which feels like a good next appropriate distance then starting the long trek back to the trailhead with another stop at Wayward on the way feels like a perfect afternoon for me and my biking abilities,” Hall said.

On a roll call vote, Nichols, Schneider and fellow Councilors Barry Kell and Mike Ladehoff voted in favor of moving forward with the agreement, while Councilors Gary Thompson, Al Hoop and Mark Mitchell opposed it.

At the end of the regular agenda, the council went into closed session to discuss a personnel matter.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the consent agenda as listed.

• Approved a motion to grant a garbage and refuse license to Prairie Waste Solutions LLC, which recently bought out Stone Sanitation/Waste Connections of Iowa. A representative from the company said several positive changes were already in the works, and the company is still considering moving its headquarters from its current location near Conrad to Marshalltown.

• Approved a resolution to amend the council manual.

• Approved a resolution allowing the fire department to enter into an agreement to purchase a 2023 light rescue vehicle through Reliant Fire Apparatus.

• Approved the sale of six city-owned lots to the following owners after brief public hearings — 112 N. 2nd Ave. for $800 to the Farst Foundation, 105 N. 2nd Ave. for $1,250 also to the Farst Foundation, 103 N. 3rd. Ave. to Hector Geovania Martinez-Lobo for $2,000, 510 Bromley Street to Braulio Pereyra for $5,000, 910 S. 2nd Ave. to Esteban Ochoa for $3,000 and 918-920 N. 5th Ave. to Joel Duden.

• Recognized Christian Case for five years with the fire department and Hubbard for five years with Parks and Recreation.


Contact Robert Maharry

at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or



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