Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1652851

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 28, 2017

Conservation board enters busy season

By John Butters | May 16, 2017
Improvements have been made to the Education Center at Marr Park. A new sound system has been installed and a plan is underway to replace the lighting in the Steinbeck Conference Hall. The board also received updates on planned improvements to the Foster Woods Park pond and other properties.

The Washington County Conservation Board approved a $500 commitment to a Willow Pond Enhancement Project, Thursday.

The funds will assist Eagle Scout Sam Fields in his goal to landscape the newly refurbished pond.

His plans include planting wildlife friendly trees, wildflowers, and removing less desirable bushes and shrubs. The Scout plans to plant more attractive trees such as the swamp white oak.

The 1.5-acre pond has received a number of improvements in the past year, due in part to its location near a planned intersection of the Kewash Trail and a trail spur to be built to the Kirkwood college campus.

State and federal grants have been obtained by the City of Washington and the board to create a linked trail system from Washington to the campus.

Washington was awarded a $100,000 Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grant this past fall to build the spur. That grant, from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), will be used to build a paved trail from the Kewash to the Kirkwood campus.

The Washington Conservation Board is ready to move forward on a plan to pave a portion of the Kewash trail past the pond, after having been awarded a $372,000 Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant.

When both the Kewash and the Kirkwood trail are paved, residents could walk or bike on a safe, paved surface from any location in the community to Kirkwood.

In other business, the board reviewed improvements to the Education Center at Marr Park. A new sound system has been installed and a plan is underway to replace the lighting in the Steinbeck Conference Hall.

The board received updates on planned improvements to the Foster Woods Park pond. The 1-acre pond is undergoing a complete renovation to improve the fishing and provide more convenient access to the property. The improvements include raising the water level of the pond and clearing away trees and bushes near the pond to improve fish habitat.

In addition to work on the pond, plans for the 20-acre park include replacing a shelter house and building a parking area.

Park Ranger Mark Even discussed improvements to the Clemons Creek shooting range. New sheltered benches have been constructed and matting put down for the convenience of the permit holders.

The board learned that work has yet to begin on the Kewash trail crossing at Kiwi Avenue.

Earlier this year, the board approved a recommendation from Executive Director Steve Anderson that the Kewash Trail crossing at Kiwi Avenue be extended 80 feet on both sides of the road.

The crossing has long-standing erosion problems due to stormwater runoff. The problem has been difficult to treat because Kiwi Avenue turns into a minimum maintenance dirt road near the trail crossing.

With unimproved ditches, a steep slope and an unstable roadbed, heavy rains turn the crossing into a quagmire.

Plans for the crossing include an Americans With Disability Act compliant concrete approach to the crossing on both sides of the road.

The roadbed will be improved with a 50-foot by 20-foot concrete slab after reconstruction and other grade work. In addition to the paving, the ditches will be reshaped and drainage improved.

 

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