The state will give public money to a couple of central Iowa outdoor recreation projects.
On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that the IEDA will give $1 million to build a 4-mile bike trail between Perry and Woodward. The path will connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail.
Also, the Iowa Economic Development Authority will provide $2.5 million to Polk County Conservation to improve Easter Lake on Des Moines' south side, Reynolds announced this week. The money will pay for fishing boats, canoe and kayak launches, a playground and an environmental learning center.
Local leaders have cleaned up the area around Easter Lake over the last decade, spending about $23 million from 2013 to 2019. The groups drained the water, removed about 21,000 dump trucks worth of dirt, refilled the lake and built a 4-mile trail around the edges.
Before the restoration, bacteria overwhelmed the water, often landing Easter Lake on the state's impaired waters list. Locals asked people not to swim in the dark brown water.
"Chocolate milk color," Michelle Balmer of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told the Des Moines Register in 2019.
The IEDA also gave $7 million Monday to Siouxland Regional Trail Systems, which will build bike paths that connect Sioux City, Le Mars, Hinton, Merrill and Sergeant Bluff.
The money for all three projects comes from Destination Iowa, an initiative Reynolds announced in April to fund developments that encourage tourism. Reynolds created the program from public money that Congress allocated to states as part of a March 2021 COVID-19 relief spending bill.
The IEDA still has $83.5 million in Destination Iowa funds. The state continues to accept applications for the money from cities, counties and organizations.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: High Trestle and Raccoon River Valley trails to be connected by 4-mile path