SIOUX CITY | Sioux City joined three other towns Monday in unanimous support of a 16-mile, two-county trail planned to stretch from inside its corporate limits to those of Le Mars.
The City Council granted 5-0 approval to a letter of intent showing the city's plans to assist with the PlyWood Trail, which is named for the first few letters of Plymouth and Woodbury counties.
The vote established Sioux City's intention to assume ownership, sponsorship and maintenance of the trail from within Sioux City limits to Hinton's southern city limits. Hinton, Merrill and Le Mars -- the cities which will be connected by the route -- have also all approved similar measures.
Sioux City will fund the approximately 1.5 miles of the PlyWood Trail inside city limits and will own, but not pay for, the portion of trail between the city limits and Hinton.
Greg Grupp, a member of the PlyWood Trail Committee, said Monday the trail portion between Sioux City and Hinton would not technically be considered "city limits" but would still fall under the city's ownership, similar to the ownership structure of trail corridors in other portions of the state.
Grupp told the council public ownership is critical to the trail's long-term success because there is liability protection not available to private nonprofits as well as the means to govern and enforce trail usage.
He said at this point, the route is still being finalized.
"There's a couple ideas out there, but we haven't narrowed it down," he said. "Now we're at the stage where we can do more design and development."
Grupp told the council the committee is working to secure private funding for the design and development of the trail and to build a $500,000 endowment to cover upkeep expenses.
He said the goal is to use Iowa Department of Transportation right of way land and acquire private land for the majority of the trail. Two meetings next week -- one 6 p.m. Aug. 16 in the Hinton Community Center and one 6 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Merrill City Council chambers -- will allow local landowners to share questions and interests.
Representatives of the three other communities attended Monday, as well as members of the PlyWood Trail Foundation, Siouxland Trails Foundation and Siouxland Cyclists. All who spoke applauded the effort.
"This link to our current trail system will go a long way to making us competitive with the other communities in the state of Iowa of equal size," said Craig Hartman, president of the Siouxland Trails Foundation.
Prior to the vote, the council also voiced appreciation for the work of the committee, Sioux City's Parks and Recreation Department staff and the neighboring cities.
"Thank you for your hard work," said Councilwoman Rhonda Capron.