State funding totaling nearly $1.5 million has been approved by the Transportation Commission for four recreational trail projects.

The DOT’s Craig Markley says a project on the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail in central Iowa won funding. He says it would pave a trail in Story County, with a grant of $400,000. The total project cost is $674,000. A grant of $220,000 was approved for the Raccoon River Valley Trail in central Iowa.

“This would be a connection to the High Trestle (Trail). This continues filling in that missing link if you would between Woodward and Perry — where it would link those two very long loop trails,” Markley says. He says the total project cost is 393-thousand dollars, and this will add to what is already a very good trail system in that area.

The Grant Wood Trail in eastern Iowa’s Linn County was awarded a grant. “This would be hard-surfacing about three miles of current granular trail east of Marion, and that would be at a $400,000 cost,” he says. The total project cost of the Grant Wood Trail is $735,000.

The final award was to the Keokuk River Trail. “This would be the construction of one mile of new trail located along the Keokuk riverfront starting at Victory Park, and heading southwest towards the boat ramp,” Markley says. That project won a grant of nearly $494,000 — with the total project cost of more than one-point-one million dollars.

Markley says the requests for funding were way above the amount available. “We received 37 applications with a total project cost of nearly 37 million dollars. And the total amount requested was right at ten times the amount available — so almost 15 million requested for the one-point-five (million) available,” Markley says.

He says the projects are scored on a variety of criteria to determine which ones receive funding.

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