Runners along riverfront

Runners jog along the riverfront trail at Chris Larsen Park. Local officials say 2017 will be a monumental year for extensions of trails in metro Sioux City.

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal file

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SIOUX CITY | They crisscross the city and are packed on sunny days.

They're our trails -- a favorite of bicyclists, runners and people out for a leisurely stroll. They get us moving and staying healthy. 

The building period began in the early 1990s after the Missouri River area was converted to have more recreational options. Two early trails were the riverfront trail and the Floyd River Trail.

City officials, Siouxland Trails Foundation members and others recognize that connecting and expanding the region's trail system creates a valuable quality-of-life asset for the area.

Sioux City Public Works Director Jade Dundas said trails are an important part of infrastructure around the city.

In 2013, crews began work in the former stockyards on a long-proposed trail link connecting two riverfront parks. Dirt work for the 1.5-mile connection from trails in the southern Chautauqua and westerly Chris Larsen parks was done near the Floyd Boulevard exit on Interstate 29.

Construction will coincide with the Iowa Department of Transportation's expansion of I-29. That connection could be open by 2016.

When the trail connecting the two riverfront parks is complete, pedestrians will be able to bike or walk from Chautauqua Park in the Singing Hills area to the city pool on the north edge of Riverside Park.

More recent developments include research into linking the Floyd River Trail north to Le Mars, Iowa. 

Additionally, the Siouxland Trails Foundation is working with Sioux City officials to determine which streets will be designated as bicycle routes. A few of those streets will have bike lanes painted on them.

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County and education reporter

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