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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

City unveils lighting as a final step in development of world-class rec trail

Thursday, September 18, 2003

There is a bright future for complexity, what with one thing always leading to another.

To most, they might just look like thicket of 49 slim, glen green, 13-foot tall, classic-style lamp posts shedding pools of light along the LakeTrail.

But to Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse, they look a lot like giant exclamation points.

"They serve as a very nice culmination of the entire LakeTrail development over a number of years," he reflected on the lights Tuesday, after a gathering of city, community, chamber and environmental leaders for the official ribbon-cutting of the LakeTrail project. "It is a case of a project changing and growing over time to be bigger and better than we ever could have anticipated at the start."

This year's final phase of the project added the lamp posts along the popular recreation trail, starting at Oscar Bauman Park, running along the lakefront, all around Frank Starr Park, and on to the inlet bridge. Contractor Voltmer Inc., electrical engineer Dave Millard and project engineers Kuehl & Payer were able to create a project in such a way that the new lights blend in with the natural surroundings, and after only a few days, already look like they've always belonged. The lights improve the aesthetics, safety and the useable hours of the trail, Kruse adds. Cost of $153,000 was funded by an Iowa Department of Transportation grant, with the city's 20% matching funds coming out of local option sales tax.

"Since the lights went on a few days ago, we have already noticed an increase in use of this portion of the trail, and we've heard a lot of positive comments," Kruse said. "In fact, people like the lights so much that they are asking when we are going to do the whole trail through town with them, which is something we hadn't anticipated at all."

This year has seen several major improvements to the trail.

* In Phase 1 ($103,500), the city added trail through Circle Park and doubled the width to eight feet from Hudson Street Extension to College Street, which helped to incorporate the university community into the recreation system and eliminate some safety issues for pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the area of the football stadium.

* Phase 2 ($80,000) doubled width of the path to eight feet from Hudson Street Extension to the DNR boat ramp, including a critical section overlooking the water near the Flindt and Lakeshore intersection, improving the look and recreation usefulness of the lakefront.

Smith Concrete of Storm Lake handled both jobs, totaling almost 1.5 miles of trail. Again, DOT grants covered most of the cost, with the city kicking in some local option tax dollars.

City Administrative Services Professional Justin Yarosevich was responsible for writing the grants to make the projects possible, Kruse said. The mayor also gave credit to the original committee that helped to launch the trail-building project a number of years ago, which was also represented at the ribbon cutting.

While the work this year completes the city's plan for the project, officials are not ruling out additional efforts in future years if the public desires them and funding is available. "It would be very nice to light the whole thing," Kruse said of the LakeTrail.

"It's just another positive for Storm Lake," he said. "We are very pleased with how the projects this year came out."

At the bottom of the crib sheet Kruse used to read from during the brief ceremony, one would find a typed quote from EB White:

"There is a bright future for complexity, what with one thing always leading to another."

So it has been with the LakeTrail, one piece, one project, one grant, one idea at a time sparking another, and another. And amid the warm new glow from those classic lamp posts on a crisp early autumn evening, the future appears brighter indeed.

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