Linn County Conservation announces first 12 conservation bond-funded projects

Work continues on the Buffalo Creek Dam in Coggon on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Work continues on the Buffalo Creek Dam in Coggon on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A year after voters overwhelmingly passed a $40 million Linn County Conservation bond, the first dozen projects stemming from that bond have been announced.

Projects range from land acquisitions and wetland restoration to park improvements and trail construction.

The 12 projects identified by the Linn County Conservation are expected to use up an estimated $1.76 million of bond funds.

However, those bond dollars are expected to leverage nearly $5.48 million in projects.

“These initial ones are ones that we can leverage with some other dollars,” said Ryan Schlader, spokesman for Linn County Conservation.

Schlader said the county conservation board will seek to leverage bond dollars on all future projects. He noted the water quality-focused projects, which include multiple possible funding sources from federal and state to local entities, may take more time to finalize.

“We anticipate a lot of the water quality projects to take a bit longer,” he said.

Last year, 74 percent of Linn County residents who voted approved a $40 million Linn County Water and Land Legacy bond. The 20-year bond is expected to be split 55 percent for water quality and land protection, 30 percent for parks and 15 percent for trails.

The bond is expected to cost the average Linn County homeowner about $27 a year.

The five-member Linn County Conservation Board is expected to ask the Linn County Board of Supervisors in early 2018 for approval of funding of the 12 projects.

Projects

The projects include:

Wickiup Hill — wetland enhancements

l Total project estimate: $250,000

l Bond funds: $186,000

Chain Lakes — 51-acre Bradley Acquisition

l Total project estimate: $240,000

l Bond funds: $100,000

Pollinator plantings — various locations

l Total project estimate: $350,000

l Bond funds: $25,000

Matsell Bridge — north oxbow restoration on Wapsipinicon River

l Total project estimate: $15,000

l Bond funds: $3,000

Buffalo Creek — wetland construction and restoration

l Total project estimate: $27,000

l Bond funds: $7,000

Buffalo Creek — 15-acre Toms land acquisition

l Total project estimate: $85,000

l Bond funds: $10,000

Wickiup’s Wandering Woods — children’s natural playscape

l Total project estimate: $200,000

l Bond funds: $30,000

Pinicon Ridge Park — playground and restroom project

l Total project estimate: $500,000

l Bond funds: $100,000

Grant Wood Trail reconstruction

l Total project estimate: $1.2 million

l Bond funds: $775,000

Hoover Nature Trail hard surfacing

l Total project estimate: $1 million

l Bond funds: $250,000

Cedar Valley Nature Trail — Blue Creek bridge replacement

l Total project estimate: $635,000

l Bond funds: $100,000

Highway 100 Trail — Phase I planning and construction

l Total project estimate: $1 million

l Bond funds: $274,000

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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