Kickoff Event Provides Preview Of Five Island Recreational Trail
Area residents were able to get a taste and a feel of what a recreational trail would afford the community on Sunday. The Five Island Trail committee’s kickoff event for the recreational trail brought numerous area residents to Duhigg Park, the destination point of the proposed trail, for a barbeque and brief program to explain the trail program. With most of North Huron and the county road north being closed to local traffic for the event, the public was able to use the roadway to bike and walk on out to Duhigg Park, following the route the proposed trail will follow along the east shore of Five Island Lake. With a barbeque and registration opportunities for door prizes, a nice crowd turned out starting at noon on a pleasant day. The trails concept was explained to those in attendance during a brief program on the lakeshore. “I’d like to welcome all of you and thank you for coming out today,” noted Steve Hoyman, leader of the trail committee. “This is the kickoff event for our trails project, because we’ve got no money, but we have a really great plan.” Hoyman explained how the idea to create a recreational trail came into being, and progressed to Sunday’s event.
“We formed a trails committee of local people who came together about six years ago, and we discussed whether there was a need for a trail in our community,” Hoyman explained. “A lot of communities have a lot of roads and sidewalks and we just don’t have a lot of sidewalks. We have two highways that go through town and that makes for really busy roads, which aren’t good to bike or rollerblade on. So, we looked at different routes of where we could put a trail.” Hoyman told how the committee looked at a possible trail along the Des Moines River, running northward towards Graettinger, but due to federal restrictions on lands along the river in federal programs, that plan had to be abandoned. A trail towards the Rockport Addition was discussed, but was not pursued at this time. The east side of the lake then became the targeted trail route. “We started looking for a route and that’s where it all started with the Osterhaus,” Hoyman said. “We were able to talk them into donating this beautiful park that we’ve got here. Without this park, we wouldn’t have anything. By having this park donated, it gave us something that we could use for matching funds. We got $33,000 in matching funds from the casino, because this park is valued as somewhere close to $100,000. That was the start of the whole trail.” Hoyman noted that landowners along the route have been talked with, and an engineer and surveyor have been hired. “We had at least one landowner who was against the project, and do you kill the whole project if just one landowner was against it, or do you go on? We had a meeting and went to the city council and county supervisors, who gave us permission to use the right-of-ways if we needed to. That basically said we could go forward. Since then, it’s really been sort of a fast ride in the last six months or so.” According to Hoyman, the trail will be concrete, 10 feet wide, and will start at the railroad trestle, running east along the lake side of the gravel road and weave through Sewell Park. The trail will travel northward along the Siemers and Gappa properties. “It’s pretty narrow there at Gappa’s, so we are going to put in pilings and build a retaining wall, fill it in and the put the trail on that,” Hoyman said. “We’re not building an overhang or bridge over the lake at that point.” The trail will continue to the dam area, cross over the old bridge and travel along the gravel road along the lakeshore to the north boat ramp. At that point, the trail will cross the county road and continue north on the east side of the roadway up to the former dredging spoil site. The committee planned on running along the roadway past the spoil site, but the owners, K&R Properties, looking towards future development, asked that the trail actually bisect the property closer to the lake shore, according to Hoymsn. The trail will continue on through the Munn properties and end up at Duhigg Park. “This is just going to be a much needed thing in this community,” Hoyman said. “A very rough estimate of costs is $500,000, and we hope to be able to