Wellmark Foundation Expands Support Of Parks To People Projects

(Maquoketa, IA) The Wellmark Foundation has announced its commitment to invest $75,000 to support Jackson County’s Hurstville Trail, a 1.1 mile trail will extend from the City of Maquoketa’s Maquoketa River Bike and Pedestrian Bridge to the Hurstville Interpretive Center, and

$60,000 for Jackson County’s Spruce Creek extension to the Bellevue Rivervue Trail. These projects are a part of the 2-year plan for the Grant Wood Mississippi River Region, the State of Iowa’s Parks to People pilot region. The region is comprised of Jackson, Jones and Dubuque Counties. The Wellmark Foundation in the spring committed $25,000 for the Maquoketa River Bike and Pedestrian Bridge and $25,000 to support the City of Anamosa and Wapsipinicon State Park’s Wapsi Trail project.

“The Wellmark Foundation mission is to continually improve the health status within Iowa communities. This grant award helps Jackson County, and our region as a whole, bring healthy outdoor opportunities to our citizens,” said Daryl Parker, Jackson County Conservation Director and President of the Grant Wood Mississippi River Region Board.

The Parks to People pilot project is a State initiative to create a regional arts, cultural and recreational destination that utilizes the State of Iowa’s investment of $1.9 million to leverage private investment. Over the last year the Jackson, Jones and Dubuque County stakeholders have worked to develop a 2-year plan to enhance, promote and sustain the regions assets. This plan, approved in December 2015 by the Iowa Parks Foundation, outlines up to $20 million of enhancements for the region’s parks, recreation and natural spaces. Only the projects that can leverage private dollars will move forward.

The Wellmark Foundation’s award of $75,000 is directed to the construction of the Hurstville Trail and

$60,000 for the engineering and site preparation for a trail extension connection Bellevue’s Rivervue Trail to Spruce Creek County Park.

Dave Heiar, Jackson County Economic Alliance (JCEA) Director and Grant Wood Mississippi River Region

(GWMRR) Program Coordinator stated, “New trails and increased recreational opportunities are a tool for economic development, as they draw residents and visitors to our communities. We are excited to count the Wellmark Foundation as part of this collaborative effort. We feel that this type of public private partnership yields great results.”

For more information look for the Grant Wood Loop on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GWMRR), or contact the Jackson County Economic Alliance: heiar@thejcea.org, (563) 652-4549.