Sibley celebrates trail's first phase completion
SIBLEY, Iowa -- Clad in yellow T-shirts that urged people to "Get up, get out and get moving," members of the Osceola Recreational Trail Association celebrated a ribbon cutting in Sibley Saturday afternoon for the completion of 1,800 feet of paved trail that runs along the east side of the golf course.
The section is just a small part of what will eventually be a 16.2-mile paved trail around town that utilizes portions of streets, a former rail line and the old Iowa 60 highway.
Diane Langstraat gathered with a group of about 25 people to celebration the completion of what she calls the first phase of the multi-use trail.
"For years, my friends and I would compare the trail systems in other cities and states and we'd always end it by saying, 'I wish we had a trail in Sibley,'" she told those gathered. "We started meeting and exploring possibilities, sometimes gaining momentum and sometimes progress would stall, but we were determined.
"We are determined that the citizens and visitors of our community will have access to a trail to walk and bike and to enjoy the outdoors," she added.
The Osceola Recreational Trail Association (ORTA) broke ground last fall and began pouring cement. That process continued through this summer, according to Dan Janssen, ORTA treasurer.
Janssen estimates it will take approximately $300,000 to get all of the portions of the trail paved, but that figure is based on volunteer labor to create the forms and pour the cement.
"If people get burned out, we'll have to hire out," he said.
Thus far, ORTA has raised approximately $40,000. Janssen said by celebrating the first section of paved trail on Saturday, they hope to generate more interest in -- and donations to -- the project. Langstraat said donation forms can be found at the north end of the trail, the Sibley Chamber of Commerce, Sibley City Offices and the Porch on Main.
The group has received grants from Alliant Energy, U.S. Bank, Union Pacific and the Osceola County Foundation totaling $15,000, and served fundraising meals at the golf course club house every Monday night last summer. They've also received donations from other civic groups in town, including Kiwanis and Rotary.
Now, they are selling sponsorships to the 8- by 10-foot sections of cement that make up the trail. Those who sponsor a section will have their name imprinted on a tile that is placed permanently in the concrete.
Janssen said as money comes in, they will continue working on the project.
"We're anticipating (it will take) four or five years, but we're hoping it's faster than that," he added. "We're currently doing reconstruction of the old Highway 60, making the fourth lane into a bike lane, and we'll do cross-connections in town, by the swimming pool and the parks."
The 16.2-mile trail equates to a 10k distance, which Janssen said will allow them to host running and biking events in the community.
Because the trail will promote better health among residents, Janssen said they hope to access health-related grants to help move the project along.
One end of the newly paved trail begins at the cul-de-sac on the east side of the golf course and connects to the already established Winkel trail.
"For a time, they will use some of the sidewalks until we have a designated trail area," Janssen said.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.