BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON –The Fort Madison PORT trail committee was notified this morning that a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation has pushed them over $500,000 toward the cost of the trail’s Phase III.
Rachel Benda, the chairwoman of the PORT committee, said she was notified this morning of the IDOT grant and said that gives the committee about $571,000 total and costs, not including a donation of land from Fort Madison Community Hospital, were calculated at about $500,000.
“We are thrilled to hear the news about receiving $91,000 from the State Recreation Trails today,” Benda said Tuesday morning. “We have been very fortunate to have a lot of great support thus far in all three phases of our PORT trail system.”
The total funds to date for the third phase of the project came from a $100,000 Wellmark grant that had to be triggered with matching funds, which the group received from the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission. Another $280,000 came from an Iowa Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant, as well as local businesses and a committee challenge. The committee also had some funds in the bank.
Benda said the fundraising isn’t over, however, as several other pieces that will enhance trail users’ experience are still in the works.
“While we have a good portion of our money raised for Phase III, we are contemplating adding a few extra pieces for ease of use and safety for those utilizing the trails. So the fundraising isn’t over just yet,” she said.
The committee is hosting its annual Boo-Athlon on Oct. 27 at the Baxter Sports Complex to help continue to raise funds for the project.
“We’re gonna be raffling off a bicycle that day, too. So you’re not going to want to miss out on that,” Benda said.
In addition to the PORT project, the IDOT commission approved a total of $1,309,100 for five State Recreational Trails Program projects.
The State Recreational Trails Program was created in 1988 with the purpose of developing and maintaining recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized trail users. This funding is available to cities, counties, state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations through an annual application-based program.