BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison PORT Committee is moving closer to the final pieces of the city’s recreational trail.
Committee officials released Thursday that a $100,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation has been earmarked for phase III of the project, but the committee has to provide a dollar-for-dollar match before Aug. 24. Phase III will connect the Baxter Sports Complex with Fort Madison Community Hospital.
Rachel Benda, chairperson of the PORT Committee said phase III is still in early planning.
“We are in the preliminary stages of mapping out a route, but it will connect to FMCH, and we hope to break ground once the route is finalized,” she said.
“We are excited to once again receive support from Wellmark for our PORT trails,” said Rachel Benda, chairperson of the PORT Committee. “The first grant we received from them helped us realize the necessary funds to complete Phase I. Now with two Phases complete we are anxious to get started on the final phase of our initial three Phase project. It is wonderful to see so many people enjoying the trails. We have had tremendous support and are now asking for monetary donations to help get the project completed.”
“The Wellmark Foundation is proud to support this project that encourages physical activity and access to and consumption of nutritious foods now, and for generations to come,” said Becky Wampler, The Wellmark Foundation executive director.
Benda said Wellmark focuses their assistance on projects that have to do with wellness, nutrition and sustainability. The foundation also gave the PORT Committee a $75,000 grant for Phase 1, the portion of the trail that runs north and south from Bluff Road to Ivanhoe Park. Phase II connected that segment of trail to the Baxter Sports Complex.
To make a donation or for more information about the PORT of Fort Madison trails, visit Facebook @PORT of Fort Madison or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Benda said the committee also has a brochure they can mail out that has a pledge form for those wishing to make a future donation. She said other fundraising efforts will be announced later.
PORT of Fort Madison operates as a subcommittee under the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Fort Madison with the mission to improve and promote the walkability, run-ability and bike-ability of Fort Madison. For more information, contact Rachel Benda 319-371-5804.