About three years ago, the Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce participated in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program. This program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation, Trees Forever and Iowa State University. It works with smaller Iowa communities in order to help improve local transportation systems, which include trails, roadways, parks, and more.
“That group came up with a lot of ideas. My trail committee came back and said, ‘Let’s take a small portion of all those ideas and see what we can do for it.’ And, that’s how the improvement project came about,” Adel Partners Chamber of Commerce President Deb Bengtson said.
Bengtson noted that the Adel Chamber of Commerce focuses on four key areas, Economic Development, Marketing, Engaging chamber members and new residents and the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
“As the chamber, we always felt [the Raccoon River Valley Trail] was a forgotten gem in Adel. The committee has been talking for four years on what we can do to enhance the trail,” Bengtson said.
As part of the upcoming improvement project, the Adel Chamber of Commerce is focusing on the portion of the trail located between Nile Kinnick Drive and the river. The chamber will work to plant approximately 12 trees and 1400 low maintenance plants and shrubs in order to give users a less industrial feel.
“The trail from Nile Kinnick all the way to the river is the real industrial part of the trail. We are looking at doing some landscaping along this trail to soften it up a bit,” Bengtson said.
In addition, the chamber is also looking to enhance the bridge over the river by adding LED spotlights. The majority of these spotlights will be included on the inside of the bridge to help illuminate the trail while the others will be placed on the outside, illuminating the water and making the bridge visible from Highway 6 at night.
“We really think this is going to enhance the view from the highway,” Bengtson said, “[The lights] are any color and they can change it for football nights to red or if it’s a [breast cancer] awareness month like in October they can change the bridge.”
The third and final portion of the improvement project will consist of art work on the trail. In order to stay with the creative theme of other areas of the Raccoon River Valley Trail, the chamber of commerce plans to purchase artwork that matches that of Waukee, Dallas Center and more. In addition, this artwork will be placed right along Nile Kinnick Drive so that not only the people using the trail can appreciate it but others passing by as well.
The Adel Chamber of Commerce estimates the total cost of the project, including the maintenance needed for a couple years following its implementation, to be $125,000. Bengtson noted that they hope to have the full funds raised by the spring of 2020, with much of the landscaping put in place this coming fall. Most of this funding will come from grants and other donor contributions.
In addition, the chamber has already rounded up numerous groups for volunteers to help implement the improvements including the Adel Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts and the Adel Rotary Club.
Coming up this Friday, March 29, the chamber will host a meeting to unveil the improvement project to the public. This meeting will take place from 4-7 p.m. and will be located at the Brickyard Burgers and Brews on Greene Street. Those interested in attending can expect signature drinks, appetizers and a guest appearance by local artist Flatland JamBand.