WEST POINT – A new $430,000 ADA-compliant trail that connects Pollmiller Park’s east parking lot with West Point’s South Park is officially open after more than five years of planning.
Lee County Conservation Director Heather Huebner welcomed Lee County officials, staff from Jones Contracting, the Fort Madison Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and community members at the west end of the trail for a ribbon-cutting Wednesday afternoon.
The new trail is a resurfacing of the former trail that had deteriorated over the years. It also has a new trailhead that is safer for trail users on the park's east side.
“This is a project that exemplifies the power of collaboration, dedication, and commitment to the environment,” Huebner said.
“This trail, which winds through the heart of Pollmiller Park into beautiful West Point, is the culmination of hard work and the generous support of three important partners.”
She thanked Lee County Conservation, the Department of Natural Resource for a Land and Water Conservation Grant, the supervisors, and the conservation department.
“The grant funds from DNR helped with resources to construct the trail. It was through grants like these that we can protect and enhance our environment by offering our community a place to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors,” she said.
She said the trail will stand as a testament to the Supervisors' commitment to the well being of the people of Lee County.
The combination of environmental stewardship and community development was the work of the Lee County Conservation district. Huebner said the trail is a shining example of that collaboration.
Jones Contracting Co. of West Point was awarded the contract for the new trail. French-Roenneker and Associates of Fairfield designed the new trail.
Supervisor Ron Fedler said the park is a result of Al Pollmiller’s donation to the county. Fedler said Delbert Bullard also donated about four acres of land to create the current day park.
"I grew up in West Point and I walked this trail as a little girl in school and high school. It was always a part of my life. I saw that it was starting to go down and was like, ‘Okay, if I die, I want my memorial to go to this trail',” said former West Point resident Sally Boyer.
“It made a big impact. So to see this happen, it’s just beautiful. I didn’t know it was happening, but it is really appreciated and makes a different to our health, to our kids, and to our families.”
West Point Mayor Joe Loving said the city is still working on grants to allow a matching connection to Eighth Street. Right now a four-foot sidewalk runs from the end of that street to where the new trail starts.
“We’ve lost a couple grants, but we’re still trying to get the money,” Loving said.
West Point City Administrator Randy Welding said a REAP grant has been received, but the city is still looking for additional grant support for the trail.
Supervisor Chuck Holmes said a grant from Climax Molybdenum will bring in identifiers of the trees along the route through QR coding technology.
“There was an extern this past summer that researched all the trees and put the signage and QR codes. Those codes will bring up all the information so those wanting to learn about trees, this will be a great place to do it.”
Tom Pollpeter, a Lee County Conservation board member said the agenda at his very first meeting as a board member included this trail discussion.
“This is great for Lee County. It’s another great tool for our toolbox to keep and retain people. That’s important to quality of life.”
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