Although it’s been hoped for years Cedar Rapids’s towering landfill pile affectionately dubbed Mount Trashmore could become a recreation destination, it’s future has been up in the air.
So we were excited to see news this week that work is underway on an observation deck atop Trashmore’s 208-foot peak, with recreational trails also planned.
Dreams for Trashmore’s future have been plentiful. In 2008, City Council members Pat Shey and Tom Podzimek led a skiing expedition to the hillside to highlight its packed powder possibilities. Little did anyone know later that year the landfill, closed in 2006, would need to be reopened to receive 430,000 tons of debris from the city’s epic flood.
Since Mount Trashmore closed once again in 2012, its recreational prospects went back on the drawing board. The public received a sneak preview when the Trashmore 5K, the “Dash to Bash Epilepsy” was run on the site.
We like the current plan for its simplicity. Trashmore’s main draw is its commanding view of the Cedar River and much of the city. An observation deck plays to that strength at a fiscally responsible cost. Trails, which could be open next spring, will carry hikers seeking out the view. A planned 18-acre pollinator zone is a welcome addition.
Its proximity to the Czech Village, New Bohemia, downtown, a proposed “Sleeping Giant” bike/pedestrian bridge and the Cedar Valley Trail likely will make it a popular destination.
So popular, we believe the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, which manages the site, needs to figure out a better plan for access to Mount Trashmore. The current strategy would allow access only when the waste agency’s composting operation at the foot of Trashmore is open. That’s 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
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In our view, that’s not enough. It precludes access to Trashmore during hours of after work daylight through warm weather months and provides no access on Sundays. We concede opening Trashmore for longer periods could present challenges and costs for a facility still being regulated and monitored as a solid waste site. Limited access may be acceptable initially, but surely there are creative solutions available to expand access long term.
Aside from access concerns, we believe Trashmore’s next act will be a success. We can’t wait to take in the view.
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