Osceola is on the right trail…
The City of Osceola has taken big leaps in the last few years to improve recreational opportunities for the community. One of the most notable changes to the landscape has been the increase in the number of walking trails. The trails currently span from the northwest corner of the city at Q-Pond Park, traveling through neighborhoods to the elementary and secondary schools, and out to East Lake Park. A map of the trail system can be seen at www.clarkecountylife,com OscolaTrails_map_031819 (1)
Vision for a trail system began a long time ago, however many obstacles made the job seem unrealistic. Cost was a huge factor. In addition, easements had to be obtained and some land needed to be purchased to make the dream a reality. It was two community members that really got the ball rolling on the trail system. Joe Johnson and Bill Black donated their time and talents to carve out the trail that was from the southeast corner of Q Pond Park to the dam of Q-Pond. They donated their time and talent for the clearing of the land and the dirt-work needed to complete the first section of the Q-Pond trail. The addition of exercise equipment was then added to Q-Pond Park by the City of Osceola with a Wellmark grant for additional exercise opportunities. Another piece to the puzzle was completed when CCDC and the City of Osceola worked together to install 6 foot wide sidewalks for children to have a safe walkway to use to walk to school. Next came portions of the trail connecting to East Lake Park thanks to Scott Kent, Clarke County Conservation director. In addition, various sidewalks have been installed on major thoroughfares around the community.
Making the dream of a walking trail system a reality required various funding resources. Funding has come from a variety of sources, mainly CCDC, Wellmark, and City funds. The splits have varied with each project. The city also participated in the Elementary School to East Lake trail through the acquisition of the land negotiated by Scott Kent of Clarke County Conservation.
Ty Wheeler, City of Osceola Administrator says,
“In the last 12 years, one of the biggest changes I’ve seen out of the community is its feelings towards trails and sidewalks. Early on, I recall there being fierce debates over the placement of a new sidewalk in conjunction with a paving project. But now, sidewalk and trail construction is almost routine. I think we’re all beginning to see the value that safe pedestrian sidewalks and trails bring the community. It’s been a successful effort, but the work is not done.”
So what is the next phase of the trail system going be? It will be a trail that leads from Lauren’s Bark Park to the East Lake Park trail system. This will allow dog owners who just exercised their dogs at the dog park the opportunity to leash their pets and walk the trails for some exercise too.
According to CDC.gov, ” Physical activity such as walking can help improve health…People who are physically active live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. Improving spaces and having safe places to walk can help more people become physically active.”
In the eyes of community leaders, the trails are a step in the right direction.
Bill Trickey, executive director of CCDC, states, “When I drive down Clay Street I see people out walking. I see families walking, friends walking, couples walking….they are getting out of their houses, unplugging and exercising.”
With the New Year many will make resolutions to begin new habits to become healthier. If you are wanting to make some changes, come try out the trails. Better health happens one step at a time.
If you have questions or would like more information about the developments around Clarke County and Osceola, Iowa, please contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director, Phone:641-342-2944, email: [email protected].