Clive, Iowa, residents reach into their own pockets to keep a popular bike trail open for runners, walkers, and cross-country skiers.
For example, a few years ago runners told the park board and city council they wanted the snow cleared faster, recalls Jeff Thielen, parks maintenance supervisor for the 15,000-resident Des Moines suburb. “But funding was an issue. The running group donated about $5,000 so we could buy a Bobcat Toolcat 5600 [utility work machine] and snowblower attachment. Now everyone's pleased with what we've done on the trail.”
“The trail is nice to have in the winter,” says runner Ed Bell. “Runners don't have to worry about dodging cars.”
Donating money for trail upkeep is nothing new for the running group, which sponsors an annual walk/run and donates the profits to the city. Bell currently serves as the race director.
The paved asphalt Greenbelt bike trail traverses the city, generally following the meandering Walnut Creek. Before the Toolcat 5600, users had to wait until the snow melted before getting on.
“At times they had to wait weeks,” says Thielen. “With the utility work machine and snowblower, we're able to provide the services the community wants.”
Have Clive residents set a precedent for funding services? Time will tell.
— Christina Schave (firstname.lastname@example.org) is public relations with Two Rivers Marketing, Des Moines, Iowa.
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