Grant Wood Loop region receives grant funding

     The Iowa DNR has awarded the City of Dubuque and City of Preston – part of the Grant Wood Loop region – Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grants amounting to $275,000 for the second phase of the Eagle Point Park Environment Restoration Plan (Dubuque) and creation of the Westside Park walking path (Preston). The Iowa DOT has also awarded Dubuque County Conservation, Jones County Conservation, and the City of Anamosa – part of the Grant Wood Loop region – State Recreation Trail grants amounting to $252,185 for the replacement of the Heritage Trail Bridge 27 (Dubuque County Conservation) and Phase I of the Wapsipinicon Trail (Jones County Conservation/Anamosa).

     REAP invests in projects that enhance and protect Iowa’s natural and cultural resources. Fifteen percent of REAP is set aside for grants to cities for projects that help establish natural areas, encourage outdoor recreation and resource management. The State Recreational Trails program provides funds to establish recreational trails in Iowa for the use, enjoyment and participation of the public. These programs help enhance recreation and accessibility in Iowa’s incredible landscape.

     The City of Dubuque’s Phase II of the Eagle Point Park Environmental Restoration Plan will be used to implement many of the recommendations made in the restoration plan to mitigate storm water runoff, prevent soil erosion, and remove invasive species throughout the cultured grounds and natural areas while preserving the historic features of the 100-plus-year-old park.

     The City of Preston will use their REAP funding to establish a walking path at their Westside Park. This trail will be adjacent to Easton Valley Schools and provide increased walkability and accessibility to park space. This project was identified as a priority in Preston’s 2014 Community Visioning Project. This trail is intended to connect to the Copper Creek Trail north of town, a part of the 6-mile trail system providing striking views of the river valley and its limestone bluffs.

     Dubuque County Conservation will use their State Recreation Trails funding to replace Bridge 27 on the Heritage Trail that was washed out by heavy rains and flooding. The Heritage Trail is a destination 26-mile trail passing through river outlooks, sheer limestone bluffs, and fossil sites.

     State Recreation Trails funding for Phase I of the Wapsipinicon Trail will connect the City of Anamosa to the Wapsipinicon State Park along a freestanding trail when fully completed. This joint Jones County Conservation and City of Anamosa project aims to better connect the residents and visitors to Anamosa to the wonderful recreation assets at the state park.

     These grant monies help leverage the local public and private dollars that the Grant Wood Loop and project leaders have helped bring to the table. “Quality of life initiatives like these help make the rural and urban communities in our region more attractive places to live, work, and play,” said David Heiar, director of the Jones County Economic Alliance and community coach for the Grant Wood Mississippi River Region and Hometown Pride program.

     The Grant Wood Loop is a regional initiative (Jones, Jackson, and Dubuque counties) to enhance, promote and sustain the region’s recreation, arts, and cultural assets in partnership with the Iowa Parks Foundation and Keep Iowa Beautiful’s Hometown Pride program. Learn more at


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