Trail-East Takes Shape
July 25, 2023
The renovation of the Lamoni Recreational Trail nears completion as earth movers work to level off and fill in sections of the east trail in preparation to pour concrete. Walkers, joggers, and bikers found the trail blocked just short of Birch Street at the small pond on their way to the Amish Country Store / Iowa Welcome Center Trailhead this spring. To turn the Stables Event Center site into a destination site for special events like weddings and graduations, it offered the city to also straighten out part of the trail and take care of pavement issues that had occurred when a semi-truck drove on it.
The small pond just west of the new event center was silted in and a bit overgrown. The new property owners wanted to clear it, make it bigger, and much more aesthetically pleasing. To redo the pond, it had to be drained. Draining would need to be done on the south side, which meant a small section of the trail needed to come out. Once that section was cut out, quite a bit more sloughed off. Because the section of the trail was broken up, the property owner offered to straighten the path and repave it at no cost to the City.
"Because of inclement weather and the sheer size of the project, it has taken a little longer than we had hoped to wrap it up," City Administrator Barb Stuck said. "Within the next couple of weeks, the climb up to East 2nd Street will be safer, easier, and mor picturesque." Stuck pointed out that since the railroad track, on which most of the trail was built, has a very little grade, it is suitable for all ages and levels of physical activity.
The Lamoni Recreational Trail and Graceland University loop features over six miles of paved trails providing a gentle, relaxing outdoor ride, walk or run. The eastern segment of the trail is referred to as the "Rail Segment" and is the longest stretch of the trail with a total length of 1.8 miles. It features an overhead canopy of trees shading where formerly railroad tracks ran. This section starts out at Graceland University and runs along the abandoned railway embankment until the Iowa Gateway Welcome Center / Amish Country Store - considered the east trailhead.
"This improvement of the east trailhead will both make the trail a more park-like experience and make it easier to identify as the start of the trail system," said Mayor Doug Foster. "As such it constitutes a significant upgrade of the trail as a whole."
(Picture 1: Worker's grade and push dirt to complete landscaping efforts on Lamoni's East Trail section.)
(Picture 2: Avid trail biker and Trails Commissioner Jim Schwab looks over the ongoing renovation of the Lamoni Trail.)