Riverside Trail Development
Coon Rapids was one of 10 communities selected to participate in the
2018 Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program. The program,
which selects communities through a competitive application process,
provides professional planning and design assistance along
transportation corridors to small Iowa communities (populations of fewer than 10,000). The Coon Rapids visioning committee identified a number of goals and priority areas during the visioning process one of which is the Riverside Trail Connection on Velvet Avenue and Stagecoach Road.
The current Riverside Trail ends abruptly on the edge of Coon Rapids at a paved road (Velvet Avenue) that not only has a high volume of traffic, but is notorious for high speed and low visibility due to a large hill. Trail users find this an unsafe option and must turn around on the current trail to return to their starting point. Plans are to extend the trail to create a complete loop. This can be accomplished by adding a trail parallel to Velvet Avenue, Stagecoach Road and Cardinal Drive to Riverside Park.
A second outcome of the new loop will be a safe passage to school route. One-third of the new trail connection on Stagecoach Road is in an area of Coon Rapids that does not have sidewalks, but that is a major connector for many children to the school. Unfortunately, there is a high volume of traffic and two blind corners on this street. School children must share this roadway with cars. By extending the Riverside Trail in this portion of the community, the trail will connect to the school/sports complex trail giving users access to the town’s aquatic center, school and sports complex. Transportation is integral to small-town life and a vibrant economy. Walking and biking are quintessential modes of travel to various destinations important to our active residents and visitors. Safe access to these destinations is crucial.
City leaders began working with JEO Consulting Group to design and construct the trail extension in April 2019. Updates on the progress of the project will be forthcoming as they develop.
Q. What is the development plan for the trail?
A. Members of the trail committee appeared before the
City Council Monday, January 6, 2020 to recommend the city move forward with a
revised version of the Riverside Trail Extension Phase 1. The
city council gave their approval to move forward with this version of
phase one. The trail committee and city will spend 2020 securing grants and other funding sources
to pay for the $643,000 trail and negotiating land easements where
required. They do not anticipate construction to begin before the spring
- Phase I: This phase will extend the current Riverside Trail from the trailhead at 320th Street north of Coon Rapids to Woodland Drive. It had originally included a trail on Stagecoach, but will now end at Woodland Drive. Phase 1 includes installing a bridge over the Middle Raccoon River and creating a hard surface trail that parallels Velvet Avenue south and then east through the Sara and Justin Roetman property where it will end at Woodland Drive. Within this new trail alignment, an anticipated 10-foot wide PCC trail will be constructed. Impacts to private property are anticipated with this phase.
Future plans call to continue the trail along the north side of Stagecoach Road to Sixth Avenue (phase 2) as well as resurface the existing Riverside Trail (phase 3). However, the city council will not approve those plans without further discussion regarding the design and prioritization of said plans. When construction of phase one is nearing completion, we will revisit phase two and three with the community to determine the direction of those phases.
- Preliminary Phase II Plans: Along the north side of Stagecoach Drive from Woodland Drive to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Cardinal Drive. Similar to phase I, an 10-foot wide PCC trail will be constructed within this new trail alignment.
- Preliminary Phase III Plans: The existing Riverside Park Trail, from Cardinal Drive to the existing trail head located along 320th Street (approx. 1.6 miles). No improvements to the existing Middle Raccoon River crossing are anticipated with this project. Anticipated improvement includes reclamation of the existing asphalt trail as a granular base and construction of a new 8-foot PCC trail. Additionally, an encroachment of the Middle Raccoon River, near 320th Street, shall be reviewed for improvement with this phase.
Q. What is expected from JEO?
A. They have conducted a topographic survey, performed a field review of the site survey and provided the city with design services (proposed trail map that addresses the need for a pedestrian bridge, narrow shoulders next to streets, utility obstructions, un-level terrain, homeowner obstructions, etc.). They will also oversee environmental review and permitting, flood plain permitting, cultural resource investigation, threatened and endangered species survey and geotechnical investigation as well as aid in funding assistance. They have also provided the city with estimated project costs.
Q. How will the trail be financed?
A. City leaders are using funds from a Great Places Grant to pay for the initial engineering fees and $25,000 from local options sales tax will be budgeted towards Phase I construction. Creating Great Places has pledged $15,000 towards Phase I. The city plans to bundle as many grants as possible to pay for the construction of the trail. It is expected that there will be little to no cost to property tax payers for construction of the trail. No construction will take place until the funds are available to pay for the project. As progress develops, plans may change but they will be communicated to the public.
Q. Who will maintain the trail?
A. Trail maintenance will be provided by the City of Coon Rapids. Residents living along the trail will not be required to do snow removal nor will they be liable for incidences that take place on the trail.
Q. Who is on the trail committee?
A. Dave Burmeister, Kevin Dorphinghaus, Sara Roetman, Laura Lake, Mark Winnett, Sami Burmeister and Katie Mason. Carroll County Conservation Director Jason Christenson is also consulting on the project.