New Option Emerges for Veterans Parkway Extension
Collaborative Effort Keeps Great Western Trail Untouched
There will be a public informational meeting about the new Veterans Parkway alignment on March 9, 2017. Details, courtesy of West Des Moines:
Anyone interested in learning about a new option for the extension of Veterans Parkway as it relates to the Great Western Trail in Warren County is invited to attend an open house on Thursday, March 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall in West Des Moines.
Tables will be set up in the Council Chambers with large copies of a map that will show Option E2, which is currently being discussed with property owners in the area. City staff and project consultants will be available at each table to answer questions and talk about Option E2.
No formal presentation will be given, so people interested in learning more about this project are encouraged to attend anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. to ask questions and talk with City representatives.
An extension of Veterans Parkway is planned to be constructed from where the road currently ends just south of Iowa Highway 5. The road will extend west to Interstate 35 and beyond to future Grand Prairie Parkway. Veterans Parkway will serve the Microsoft Osmium data center site along with future development areas in Warren and Madison Counties.
Concerns about the planned alignment of Veterans Parkway were recently raised by the public because of the roadway’s potential impact on the Great Western Trail in Warren County. This regional trail and the land making up the trail corridor is owned by Warren County and managed by the Warren County Conservation Board (WCCB). In response to public concern, the City and representatives of the WCCB developed alternative alignments of Veterans Parkway with the goal of lessening the impact of the road on the Great Western Trail.
The latest option under consideration is Option E2, which will be discussed at the Veterans Parkway Open House on Thursday, March 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the WDM Council Chambers.
See original post below:
Following a series of meetings about the extension of Veterans Parkway in Warren County and its potential to impact landowners and Great Western Trail users, volunteers formed a group of stakeholders interested in exploring additional options.
Stakeholders included Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Warren County Supervisors, Warren County Conservation Board (WCCB), Polk County Conservation Board, Warren County Economic Development, City of West Des Moines Parks and Parks Commission, WDM Bicycle Advisory, WDM City Manager's office, WDM Engineering, representatives of trail users and the City of Carlisle. Two meetings were facilitated at the Raccoon River Nature Lodge on Jan. 26 and Feb. 9. The second meeting included two landowners as well.
This proposal, presented by West Des Moines, shows Veterans Parkway running adjacent to the 100'-wide linear park that includes the trail. According to the city, there will be no additional road crossings of the Great Western Trail than exist presently. The linear park/trail corridor will be just as it is now.
This option links to the Veterans Parkway connection point, as was envisioned in past planning efforts. The initial two lanes (nearest the trail) will be built while working closely with impacted homeowners. The intent is to keep the trail and its surrounding parkland open during construction.
The stakeholders group has recommended Option E2. The West Des Moines City Council will make the final decision.
The stakeholders further suggest:
- Supporting a strong aesthetic for the roadway/boulevard
- Emphasizing best practices in safety for any future trail connections or crossings
- Using enhanced aesthetics and sound mitigation (particularly in the vicinity of the Adams cul de sac)
- Landscaping/buffering of the Great Western Trail Linear Park as much as possible
- Considering agriculture buffers and/or overlay for safety and resources protection
- Reviewing possibility of an enhanced trail head
- Funding and connection options be pursued (see below)
- Work for continuous improvement of communications on the part of all involved
- Researching funding options to maintain the Great Western Trail
Since the trail is not affected, the WCCB will not be required to vote on option E2. At the same time, the City of West Des Moines has offered to work with WCCB on strategies for trail maintenance going forward. The tax base provided by the Microsoft project is a great source for Warren County to provide a revenue stream for a debt service levy if the county chooses to do so. Warren County currently has zero debt. Also, West Des Moines leadership will approach area business owners and developers to consider providing seed money for a maintenance fund. WCCB currently faces ongoing, substantial challenges in maintaining its trails with the budget available (24.5 miles of trail with $10,000 per year for maintenance, according to Director Jim Priebe).
Stakeholders also requested that the county and city look to expand trail connections. Stakeholders recommend connections to the planned Fox Valley Neighborhood Park, connections to Raccoon River Park and inter/intra county connections.
The City of West Des Moines plans to host an open house where staff will be available for all interested parties to ask questions and review the options. The date will be widely publicized, and promoted through the same avenues used to distribute this stakeholder information.