HUXLEY, Iowa -- At the Iowa DOT Commission meeting this week, commissioners gave the OK for spending on several Iowa trail projects, including the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail in southern Story County.
The trail paving will be from 560th Avenue for $530,000. The project will be completed over the next couple of years all the way to the Skunk River in Cambridge. That will be used with other funds already granted.
"Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been trying to work with the Conservation Board and local citizens to work with finishing the connections so we can improve this so we can go all the way to the east,” said Huxley Mayor Craig Henry. ”I think the numbers will increase dramatically. Bikers from Ankeny and Ames are ecstatic about the possibilities of being able to have a loop between Ankeny-Ames and using the heart of Iowa Trail.”
In Huxley there are hopes of many more bikers coming in the future, especially when you compare that to the bikes on the High Trestle Trail.
“We looked at the trail counters we had at the High Trestle Trail and just a half mile away at our Heart of Iowa Nature Trail that ties into it, close to 98% more usage on the High Trestle Trail, compared to the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail,” said Patrick Shehan of the Story County Conservation Board. “We’ll just give them another opportunity instead of going up to Slater and heading west. We gave them an option of going east and going all the way back to Altoona in the future.”
Future plans call for the trail to be extended to other trails in Marshall County, making a loop back to Altoona possible.
Iowa State University students helped the City of Huxley do a survey on future plans for the town.
“Part of that survey focused on the citizens. They want us to focus on old downtown and things like that for the community,” said Henry.
Already several businesses are located there, including a brewery which will open next month and a bake shop which is already going.
“We’re hoping to improve this area and kind of add to it and get it all blended into a historical area,” said the mayor.
“Communities in Story County are interested in try to get more travelers coming down our trail,” said Shehan. “It’s a beautiful, scenic, with everything from remnant prairies to a beautiful timber areas that people can really enjoy.”