Bee Branch Creek Greenway Ribbon-Cutting and Opening Celebration on July 19

By Kristin Hill, City of Dubuque Communications Specialist

 

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The City of Dubuque will hold two public events on July 19 to celebrate the completion of the Bee Branch Creek Greenway. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the Bee Branch Amphitheater, located at 533 Lincoln Ave. near Audubon Elementary School, and a community celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. throughout the greenway, which stretches from E. 24th St. to Garfield Ave.

The 4 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony will include remarks by project funding partners, neighborhood residents, and elected officials. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Audubon Elementary School gym, located at 605 Lincoln Ave.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a celebration will be held in the Bee Branch Creek Greenway from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will include performances in the amphitheater by Rising Star Theatre Co. and the McNulty Irish Dancers and free activities including an inflatable bounce house, slide, and obstacle course; the City’s Leisure Services Department’s Rec ‘n Roll activity trailer; face painting; and an “Explore the Greenway” Passport Program.

Through the passport program, attendees will learn about the project and how the greenway will function to control flooding, improve water quality, and serve as an asset to the community.  Those who complete the passport program will be entered into drawings for gift cards from businesses located near the project.  Free snacks and refreshments will be available and food will be available for purchase from Adobos Mexican Grill, The Devil’s Pit Char-B-Que, and Magoo’s Pizza.

In addition to on-street parking, event attendees may park in the public parking lot at the corner of E. 22nd St. and Prince St. and the Sacred Heart Church parking lots on Queen St. and Windsor Ave. In case of inclement weather, the celebration in the greenway will be rescheduled for Wednesday, July 26, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Bee Branch Creek Greenway is one of several infrastructure improvements Dubuque is making as part of the multi-phased Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project to address severe and frequent flash flooding in the Bee Branch Watershed. It features a 1,938-foot long creek and floodplain, a multi-use trail system, amphitheater, urban orchard and garden, spillway, scenic overlooks, bio-infiltration swales, rain garden boardwalk, permeable parking lot, several benches and seating areas, and a play area with slides.

The Bee Branch Creek Greenway will be open 24 hours a day with lights on from dusk to dawn. Swimming and wading are not allowed in the creek. Although it will serve as a linear park, the Bee Branch Creek is an important part of community’s infrastructure to control flooding. The creek is designed to move stormwater safely through the area without flooding adjacent properties. When it rains, the creek will rise out of the limestone channel and cover the lower trail and grass. A flashing flood warning system has been installed to alert park users when the creek is covering the trail.

For additional details on the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project, visit http://www.cityofdubuque.org/beebranch or call (563) 690-6068.

 

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Chloe Creek Mountain Bike Trail Now Open

Dubuque area mountain bikers can rejoice! The Dubuque area’s first mountain bike trail at Chloe Creek Park in Asbury, developed by the Tri-state Mountain Bike Riders (TMBR), opened June 27th. KCRG News reported that over $50,000 was raised privately over the last 18 months to fund the trail, according to TMBR President Brett Erthum. The trail features over two miles of trail in three loops in the twenty-acre park. Beginners have access to the green trails while the rollers, banked turns, bumps, and curves will interest the more intermediate and advanced riders. The trailhead is located at 5173 Park Place in Asbury. Check out the TMBR Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MOUNTAINBIKERSTMBR/ for information on conditions and upcoming events, like the Chloe Creek Kid’s Race on July 25th at 5:30 p.m. All kids under the age of 12 are encouraged to attend. The TMBR website can be accessed at http://tmbrtrails.org/trails/

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Bicycle Masterplan Update

By Charlie Winterwood and Pat Prevanas

Members of Tri-State Trail Vision met with Dan Fox, Senior Planner at East Central Intergovernmental Agency (ECIA), on Monday, June 26th. Fox encouraged members to find ten projects that would be doable in ten years. After reviewing the Masterplan, members suggested that the Masterplan include the following projects (in no particular order) in its update:

  • Middle Fork Catfish Creek Trail – develop west end first
  • Connector between the Bee Branch and Millwork District – possibly Kerper Blvd.
  • Seippel Road – possible connector from Chavanelle Road north to Asbury Road
  • Monitor East-West Corridor Study – monitor and encourage bike and pedestrian options
  • North Central Avenue – City planners will likely coordinate this after the SW Arterial opens
  • Asbury Road – sharrows
  • South Grandview – sharrows
  • South Locust – sharrows
  • Southwest Arterial – monitor
  • Old Highway Road – additional signage
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Bike to Work Week Follow-Up

May 15-19 was designated nationally as the 2017 Bike To Work Week. Dubuque area riders participated despite a wet week. Festivities culminated at Town Clock Plaza’s Dubuque Fest.

Prior to the week, Free Flight sponsored a Bike to Work Week (BTWW) promotion with WJOD radio host Ken Peiffer. Brian Walsh, owner of Free Flight, donated an electric bike as part of BTWW. City busses sported banners. Jeremy Burkhart with the Bike Coop, Dave Hartig and Parrish Marugg with Bicycle World, and Raki and Adonia Giannakouros all contributed time and energy as well.

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2017 TSTV Membership Drive

by Michael Loebach

 

Spring’s arrival indicates that not only are the robins back, but so is Tri-State Trail Vision and its membership drive. Consider what your membership will do to enhance trail opportunities within the Dubuque area. You have probably already seen our emails and maybe even received a letter in the mail. Maintaining a strong membership is critical to the success of this all-volunteer organization. Benefits include a newsletter that comes out three times per year, advocacy by board members to various governmental agencies, and connections with community leaders who support trails in the Dubuque area.

Please send $15 for a single or $25 for a family membership along with your name, address, phone, and email address to: Tri-State Trail Vision, Treasurer, 790 Valentine, Dubuque, IA 52003.

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Bike to Work Week May 15-17, 2017

 

     Rolling right around the corner is Bike To Work Week. This nationwide effort encourages everyone to walk or ride a bike to work during the week of May 15-19. Endorsed by Tri-State Trail Vision, the Dubuque Bike Coop leads the initiative with several events. On Saturday, May 13, a tour around Dubuque will be the warm-up ride, so to speak. This begins at the Bike Coop at 22nd and Central. A couple more rides are planned during weekday evenings, and the week will wrap up and share the spotlight with DubuqueFest activities at the Town Clock Plaza. Register at http://www.tinyurl.com/DBQBTWW2017. The Bike Coop’s goal this year is to get 300 riders to commit to 1-5 days of walking or riding. Updated information can be found on the Dubuque Bike Coop’s Facebook page. Get out and get healthy!

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Charlie Winterwood as New Tri-State Trail Vision President; Thanks to outgoing President Tony Zelinskas

By Dianne Koch

Tri-State Trail Vision welcomes long-time Vice President Charlie Winterwood as its new President in January elections. Winterwood is active in many nature-oriented groups, such as the Audubon Society, Friends of Mines of Spain, and Friends of Dubuque County Conservation Board.

Winterwood replaces long-time President Tony Zelinskas. Since 2010, Zelinskas tirelessly advocated for trail initiatives. He wrote many letters to area leaders to encourage funding or expansion of proposed trail projects. He penned advocacy letters, supporting city and county grant applications. His work with TSTV included viewing the larger picture, and he often shared his engineering expertise to answer questions on procedures and techniques used for trail building with the TSTV Board. His company built the Hwy 52 Heritage Trail Overpass project, and he was a key figure in its development. Zelinskas regularly attended the Iowa Bike Summit conferences in Des Moines and pushed the City Council to adopt the Complete Streets Initiative. He also oversaw the first Bike-to-Work-Week efforts in Dubuque several years ago, which continues today. TSTV owes much to Zelinskas, and we are in his debt. A sincere thank you goes to Tony for his commitment and loyalty to our cause.

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Asbury’s Cloie Creek Mountain Bike Trail Opening Soon

By Brett Erthum

 

The Cloie Creek Park trail in Asbury is nearing completion and is fully funded.  Trail Source from Minneapolis, MN and a member of the Professional Trail Builders Association has been contracted to do the work.  They are currently waiting for soil conditions to be acceptable for shaping, then they will start.  The project is expected to take 4 weeks to finish.

The Tri-State Mountain Bike Riders (TMBR) is planning to host a ribbon cutting ceremony in May.  The date has yet to be determined.  When open, Cloie Creek will be the first public area open to off-road cycling.  It will incorporate banked turns, berms, and other features that will distinguish it from other trails in eastern Iowa.

We are pleased to have this trail in the city of Asbury.  Its urban location makes it especially accessible to younger enthusiasts.  TMBR plans to work with the City of Asbury to support programs that encourage kids to ride.

TMBR is working through details on a future project for ’17-’18.  An announcement will be coming shortly.  TMBR will soon be providing trail status reports for Heritage Trail on our website.  Check for that functionality at tmbrtrails.org and check our Facebook Page (TMBR) for current information.

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Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project and Trail Update

By Kristin Hill

Construction of the Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project started in June 2015. The project required a lot of excavation, relocation of utilities, and construction. The creek channel is now finished and fully functional. This spring, crews will complete the remaining construction and landscaping. The City plans to host a ribbon cutting and community celebration on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. More details will be shared as plans for the event are finalized.

Amenities along the newly restored creek include the E. 24th St. overlook, a play area with slides, an outdoor classroom/amphitheater, the E. 22nd St. spillway, and a multi-use trail system that connects to the Heritage Trail and Mississippi River Trail (MRT). There is a street-level trail and a trail that runs along the edge of the creek, which passes underneath the E. 22nd St. and Rhomberg Ave. bridges. The trail system was designed to loop around the creek, which stretches from E. 24th St. to Garfield Ave. This loop is approximately one mile.

The on-street route from the Upper Bee Branch Creek to the Lower Bee Branch Creek will be Garfield Ave., to Pine St., to E. 19th St., to Washington St. When you turn east off Washington St. onto E. 16th St. and cross the railroad tracks you will find yourself at the Lower Bee Branch Creek.

The Lower Bee Branch trail runs along the creek and detention basin up to Kerper Blvd. (behind Dairy Queen and Fazoli’s). A portion of the trail closed in February 2016 for the construction of a new overlook. It re-opened this spring, while the overlook and adjacent parking lot are expected to open in June 2017. Until then, the City recommends trail users park on E. 15th St. or Sycamore St.

Improvements associated with the Lower Basin Overlook include a plaza, an open-air pavilion, drinking fountain, bike racks, trash receptacles, benches, lighting, and landscaping. Over the next five years, the City is looking to continue the Lower Bee Branch Trail around the detention basin and extend it over 12th St. and 11th St. to the Intermodal Transportation Center.

To sign up for Bee Branch Project-related email and/or text alerts, including information on the ribbon cutting on July 19, visit www.cityofdubuque.org/notifyme.

 

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An Illinois Summer Bike Ride from Hanover to Savanna: Complete with Hills, Valleys, Ridgetops, Prairies, a River, and a Trail

By Dianne Koch

Checking out more Illinois roads became an obsession as I reflected on past trips. I wanted to discover more: more diverse landscapes, more fields, more parks, and more riverside trails. Illinois can offer much in a mere 50 miles. Traveling some familiar roads as well as new roads is always an adventure, so today’s destination was a trek from Hanover to Savanna.

We park in Hanover, and Kevin and I take off on an overcast summer morning, heading east on West Hanover Road. A long uphill greets us, but the top of the hill welcomes us with the beautiful grounds surrounding the Rocky Waters Vineyard and Winery. We do not stop, but it is definitely on the list of places to visit soon. West Hanover Road levels off and then descends through a pretty valley. The level flats are welcome, but another hill brings us to South Derinda Road. We have logged on six scenic miles at this point. Taking a right, we pass the picturesque Trinity Lutheran Church and Cemetery as we pass into the Derinda Valley. Eventually we climb up to the East Albrecht Road junction but stay on South Derinda Road, heading south to Savanna. Now on a ridge top, the winding road lets us float along easily. The road’s name changes to Scenic Ridge Road, aptly named as the Mississippi River Valley bluffs appear on our right. Eventually we pass the eastern edge of Mississippi Palisades State Park and several small parking lots with trailheads. A final descent takes us into Savanna as we take a left on 4th Street, a descent that brings us literally to downtown Savanna. Here we discover a Subway and eat lunch. We have logged 20 miles at this point, and we discover that the Great River Trail, a former rail trail, is just across the highway. So we decide to check out a another landscape for a while.

Here, we trade the ridge tops and hills for the river marshes and views. The arched bridge, a quarter mile in length, goes over the Savanna train tracks. The ride along Spring Lake is impressive and scenic despite the cloudy day. Another mile or so further down the trail is a parking lot of the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. A hiking trail on top of Spring Lake’s dikes allows for an immersive experience to see (and hear) the songbirds and waterfowl. We continue biking through woods, a prairie, another woods, and finally an open prairie trail that takes us to the Wildlife and Fish Refuge’s Visitor’s Center. We stop in to ask about the migratory birds and plan to make a visit in a couple of months. Another mile or so down the road, we turn around since we have a return trip of 26 miles (and a few hills) staring at us. So the Great River Trail takes us back to Savanna and we follow the same roads back for a total of 52 miles.

Who could guess that so many landscapes could be within such a small area? Despite the overcast day, it made for cool, pleasurable riding and lots of memorable scenery.

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