1000 Friends of Iowa select new trail as recipient of 2017 Best Development Award

MUSCATINE, Iowa – It may have taken 10 years of planning and just two months of actual construction but the Kent Stein to Deep Lakes Park Trail project has received state wide recognition as one of 12 recipients of a Best Development Award from 1000 Friends of Iowa.

The project won the Transportation/Complete Streets category that seeks to recognize efforts to improve transportation accessibility for bicycles, public transit, and pedestrians, decrease personal car dependency contributing to urban sprawl, and reduce carbon emissions.

City of Muscatine project manager Randy Hill and city engineer Jim Edgmond received the award during the presentation ceremony Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda in Des Moines.

The 4.55 mile trail runs from the Kent Stein Park trailhead on Houser Street through Deep Lakes Park to 57th Street South. The trail features a 10-foot wide handicap accessible pavement that, according to 1000 Friends of Iowa, “connects key recreational amenities within the community while building pedestrian-friendly connectivity, creating safer bike-to-work routes, reducing motor vehicle traffic, proving outstanding opportunities, promoting healthy living, and paving the way for even greater developments that are now planned for Deep Lakes Park.”

Over 30 different routes were considered before the final route was proposed to and accepted by the Muscatine City Council.

The judges noted that the selected route skirted farmland as opposed to dissecting or consuming it and opened natural areas to the public. Connecting other recreational amenities to the park while also winding its way through the park has created a ripple effect for other Muscatine County parks in the development of their recreational infrastructure.

Other aspects of the trail that were recognized by the judges included the careful planning and engineering that increased the community’s shared space and promoted sustainable practices around natural resources without negatively impacting any historical assets or cultural resources.

“Sustainable asphalt was used,” the judges noted. “Over the pavement’s life cycle, asphalt pavements require only about half the energy to produce and construct than other pavements and because asphalt pavements are perpetual, less energy is consumed in maintenance and reconstruction with a life-cycle carbon footprint merely a fraction compared to other pavements.”

The journey on the trail takes the pedestrian or bicyclist from the athletic facilities at Kent Stein Park to the many recreational amenities at Deep Lakes Park. Along the way the path takes the traveler through several areas of natural vegetation and areas that will become part of Muscatine’s pollinator project.

All the planning and engineering that went into the development of the Kent Stein to Deep Lakes Park Trail has been part of the trail development process in Muscatine and is being used to plan the next section, the West Side Trail, which will connect Kent Stein to Discovery Park.

1000 Friends of Iowa is a statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on promoting responsible land use and sustainability in community, state, and federal development decisions through citizen engagement and education about sustainable development. The organization encourages land use planning that protects farmland and natural areas, and ensures livable communities through implementation of smart growth principles.

The 2017 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, winner, project, city, link). For more information about each project, click the link.

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Clive for the Walnut Creek and Clive Greenbelt initiatives in Clive <link>
  • In the Mixed Use category, Blackbird Investments for the Wilkins Building in Des Moines <link>
  • In the New Residential category, KCL Engineering for the Parkside Residential Development in Charles City <link>
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, the City of Glidden for the Albert Kruger, Sr. Shelter in Glidden <link>
  • In the Renewable Energy category, St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and Red Lion Renewables for the Solar Array in Norwalk <link>
  • In the Renovated Civic category, the City of Sioux City for the Sioux City Promenade in Sioux City <link>
  • In the Renovated Commercial category, SingleSpeed Brewing Co. for the Wonder Bread Building in Waterloo <link>
  • Renovated Residential category, Downtown Leases and Lofts for the Kibbey Building in Marshalltown <link>
  • In the Stormwater Management category, City of Denison for the 14th Street Parking Lot in Denison <link>
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Muscatine for the Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park Trail in Muscatine <link>
  • In a special Jurors’ Choice category, the City of Dubuque for its long-term, big-vision cross-cutting activities. <link>

PHOTO CAPTION: Jim Edgmond (far left), city engineer, and Randy Hill, project manager, represented the City of Muscatine at the 1000 Friends of Iowa 2017 Best Development Awards presentation in Des Moines Tuesday (Jan. 16). Representative Gary Carlson (R-Muscatine) and Senator Mark Lofgren (R-Muscatine) are also pictured along with Impact 7G Vice President Michael Fisher who made the presentation. (Photo courtesy of Maharry Photography)