Dubuque County hosted a team of national experts who collected information and input on the Heritage Trail from Wednesday October 17th to Saturday October 20th. The visit is part of the American Planning Association’s (APA) Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) program. CPAT is a national program that seeks to foster community education and engagement. The APA selected Heritage Trail from a national pool of applications to be the subject of the voluntary CPAT process. The CPAT team will offer the community recommendations on how to make the trail more accessible and user friendly, how to promote the sustainability of the trail, and how to expand the recreational and economic development opportunities of the entire region.
This pro bono consulting team shared their expertise in trail building, landscaping, legal issues, environmental issues and trail funding. Representatives from Tri-State Trail Vision attended meetings at Dyersville and Dubuque on October 17th and 18th, respectively.
The team of 5 experts from across the nation highly praised the repair work done by Dubuque Conservation Director Brian Preston and his staff, considering the tremendous devastation of the 2008 and 2011 floods. Through the public comments, the team found that trail users shared a sense of unity and willingness to work together despite the variety of trail uses and interests. The team was impressed with this sense of unity.
Some of the ideas expressed at the October 18th meeting included better parking and bathroom amenities; signage along the trail; the effect of tourism on the local economy; the needs of hikers, road bikers, mountain bikers, runners, and snowmobilers; crushed gravel versus asphalt surfaces; special events and their needs; and more access points for fishing.
The team’s recommendations for improving the trail were presented on Saturday, October 20th at the Grand River Center. A formal recommendation will be forthcoming soon. Check the Heritage Trail project website for additional project background, team member profiles, and project updates online.