September 22, 2021

Red Rock Prairie Trail granted easement around co-op

Bike trail will safely bypass Prairie City co-op’s main operations

Heartland Co-op in Prairie City granted an easement to Jasper County for the Red Rock Prairie Trail, whose bike path goes directly through the property and according to the county conservation director Keri Van Zante would be dangerous to ride through on a bicycle during harvest season.

“We have an easement with the co-op to go around the co-op,” Van Zante said during the Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting on July 20. “We would go north of the co-op on the south side of the square and then still cut through co-op property until we get back onto where the trail should be.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation needs the easement to be approved by the county board of supervisors in order to move forward with the August bid letting for the Red Rock Prairie Trail. Van Zante said the easement is north of the co-op’s main operations.

Red Rock Prairie Trail is built on a defunct rail corridor. Recently, conservation and JEDCO had been applying for more funding to finish a section of the trail from Prairie City to Mitchellville. In June, conservation learned its pursuit to receive congressional district dollars “is moving forward.”

According to the easement agreement, Heartland Co-op will grant Jasper County a temporary construction easement for the trail. Jasper County will also give Heartland Co-op an ingress/egress/circulation easement for that part of the former railroad right-of-way.

“So instead of going straight through the operations, we’re going up and around to make it safer,” Van Zante said.

Both Heartland Co-op and Jasper County agreed the permanent easements shall run for the same time period as the Red Rock Prairie Trail exists. Van Zante suggested it’s common for trails built on old railroads to come across these types of easements.

“I think this happens a lot,” she said. “There’s lots of co-ops involved with bike trail projects since train tracks usually go through old co-ops or current co-ops.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.