Jasper County Conservation announced this week it received a $1.14 million grant for the Phase 2 construction of the Red Rock Prairie Trail.
In a press release, conservation said the grant is made possible thanks to a partnership with Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa’s Second Congressional District, who sponsored a bill passed in the omnibus package. Miller-Meeks said she was pleased the funding for the trail could be included.
“Community Project Funding provides an opportunity for me to work directly with local officials at home and deliver federal funding straight to Iowa,” Miller-Meeks said. “I’m excited about this project, and I look forward to continuing my efforts to secure funding for projects across the district.”
The development of the 16-mile Red Rock Prairie Trail runs on a former train rail corridor from Monroe to the Mitchellville city limits.
Phase 1 of the Red Rock Prairie Trail was completed in August 2022. The section of trail extends 10 miles between Monroe and Prairie City and the entrance of the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation held a grand opening and ribbon cutting in the summer to celebrate the connection.
Phase 2 of the Red Rock Prairie Trail will extend an additional six miles from the edge of Prairie City west toward Mitchellville. Future connections to Chichaqua Valley Trail and/or the Gay Lea Wilson Trail are also being planned.
These connections will allow Red Rock Prairie Trail to link to the 600-mile system of trails and bikeways in the Des Moines metro.
Keri Van Zante, director of Jasper County Conservation, said, “Funding of this caliber means, to me, that Iowans and Jasper County residents understand the importance of trails as they relate to outdoor recreation, health, economic development and community connectivity. We are thrilled with his opportunity!”