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PROGRESS: Continuous Sioux City riverfront trail finally completed

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Riverfront trail nears completion #1 (copy)

Deer walk on a newly-paved section of Sioux City's trail along the Missouri River on Sept. 30. A long-awaited expansion of the riverfront trail connects the city's trail system to Chautauqua Park on the city's southern end.

SIOUX CITY -- The most crucial trail connection in the Sioux City metro -- 1.5 miles in the vicinity of the new Siouxland Expo Center -- was completed last fall.

The middle connector in the vicinity of the new Siouxland Expo Center finally links the city's southernmost trail, in Chautauqua Park, to Chris Larsen Park, and on north to Riverside Park. Sioux City Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore said roughly $3 million of the $3.5 million project was funded through a $1 million Missouri River Historical Development grant and two other state grants. 

"It was very long-awaited," Salvatore said of the concrete paved trail. "So now we have continuous 14 miles of trail along the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers."

Salvatore said there is still a small section of trail on South Lafayette Street, which stretches from the Expo Center to the city's lift station, that needs to be filled in. He said that section spanning less than a quarter mile will be constructed in April. 

The Leeds connector, which is located on an old abandoned railroad bed, was also completed last year, according to Salvatore. He said the half-mile section of concrete paved trail begins across the street from Leeds Park and connects to the new Outer Drive pedestrian bridge. That project cost $170,000. 

"We've gotten to a place in society where trails are an expected amenity. The demand for trails is really high," Salvatore said. "Since I started with the city six or seven years ago, we've been fortunate to be able to do about nine trail connection projects."

Salvatore said "it's been a lot of fun" seeing the city's trail system progress over the last several years. He said the city will continue to pursue other connections within its trail system in the future. 

"We're looking forward to continuing the effort. We've made a lot of progress, but there's still a lot more to do," he said. "I think we'll always have some type of trail project in the works. Our goal on connecting them is an ongoing process."

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