Recent renovations to the Grinnell Area Recreation Trail (GART) will expand pathways for Grinnell residents and College students. Previously, the trail had two primary sections, one running from the Grinnell Aquatic Center by Grinnell High School to Rock Creek State Park and the other along Route 146 near Grinnell Industrial Park in the south part of town, according to the Imagine Grinnell website.
However, “recently an underpass had [to] be constructed under Hwy 6 near West Side Family Diner and Iowa Valley [Community College] Distrcit to connect … existing segments of [the] trail,” wrote Sarah Smith, Executive Director of Imagine Grinnell, in an email to The S&B.
The new bike path will offer almost nine miles of continuous trails. According to Smith, the path runs through a variety of landscapes and scenery within Grinnell, offering bikers a unique and continuously engaging experience rather than simply a road to a destination. Scenery along the bike path will include parks and wooded areas alongside business and residential stops.
These renovations are a step in the larger plan to increase biking opportunities and access to nature sites and other outdoor resources in the wider Grinnell area.
“The total vision is a 20 mile hard-surface loop—effectively a linear park that transits multiple well-travelled, recreational, residential and commercial areas … By expanding on established trails, we will provide cyclists and others with new recreational opportunities, create a regional tourism destination and develop new options for linkage with the greater statewide trail system, dramatically improving the quality of life for all without disrupting rural land use,” Smith wrote.
These renovations will not only increase the ease of travel to nature sites, but benefit local businesses as well by allowing both Grinnell citizens and visitors to easily access different parts of town on bikes.
“The potential community of regular users includes not only 9,000-plus Grinnell area residents but Grinnell College faculty, staff and students, employees of local businesses,” Smith wrote.