Fairfield Ledger

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 25, 2014

Trail receives award at regional meeting

Dec 16, 2013
PHOTO SUBMITTED Stephen Pedrick, chairman of the Jefferson County Trails Council, center, receives an award on behalf of the Fairfield Loop Trail from Mary Patchin of the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau and John Wilson of the Lansing Park District.

The Fairfield Loop Trail recently received an award at the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference, a bi-annual conference held Oct. 27-30 in Matteson, Ill.

The conference is sponsored by an affiliation of trails and greenways planners and promoters representing nine states in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. Two awards were granted for each state, one for a person who has been influential in trail advocacy, and one for an exemplary trail. This year’s Iowa state awards went to Chuck Offenburger and the Fairfield Loop Trail. The award shows the Fairfield Loop Trail is not only an asset to the local community and the state of Iowa, but is an asset to the entire Midwest.

The Fairfield Loop Trail project was first conceived in 1997 when the Jefferson County Conservation Board recognized the demand for trails in Fairfield was outpacing the supply. The Jefferson County Trails Council was formed shortly thereafter to “create an integrated trail system that will allow all citizens and visitors to enjoy the benefits of health, recreation, education, and safety.”

Fourteen years later, the 15.9 mile Fairfield Loop Trail was completed. The completion of the project is an example of community involvement, cooperation and persistence. The project would not have been possible without the support of the city of Fairfield, Jefferson County and the Iowa Department of Transportation. Pathfinders RC&D and French-Reneker-Associates Inc. were critical partners for preparing grant applications and planning, engineering and design services. In total, more than 20 local contractors and building-related service providers assisted with the construction of the trail. In addition to local professionals, more than 120 volunteers provided many hours of volunteer labor for trail construction.

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