Government

Cedar Rapids' Mount Trashmore transformation enters final phase

Trails for biking and hiking could be completed in June

Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency

An artist’s rendering shows what a public overlook will look like atop the Mount Trashmore landfill on the west side of the Cedar River. The closed landfill, 208 feet tall, offers a panoramic view of the river and the city.
Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency An artist’s rendering shows what a public overlook will look like atop the Mount Trashmore landfill on the west side of the Cedar River. The closed landfill, 208 feet tall, offers a panoramic view of the river and the city.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Officials are preparing for the final phase of the conversion of the city’s infamous, looming mountain of trash dubbed Mount Trashmore into a recreation destination with bike trails to the top and an overlook pavilion once you get there.

The top offers splendid panoramic views — the downtown skyline, the city’s canopy of trees, smokestacks of factories and distant water towers.

The new landing at the top is complete, although some surrounding landscaping work remains. Now it is time to begin work on the trails, which will offer a challenging workout for hikers and bikers.

Visitors are stopping by Mount Trashmore, which was decommissioned as a landfill for good in 2012 but remains an active composting site, daily to inquire about going up to the top. But until the trails are finished, Mount Trashmore will remain closed to the public, said Karmin McShane, executive director of the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency.

“While we are under construction with the bike trails, they’ll understand why we are not open,” McShane said. “As soon as that is complete they are going to want up there. We will have this rush.”

The budget is $590,000 for the overlook, with four levels of terraced seating, a curved retaining wall, a stone walkway, posts and markers and demolition of the old scale house. The agency signed a $145,920 contract with McGill Trail Fabrication, a bike trail specialist from Silverthorne, Colo., to build the trails.

Users of the area will have a designated place to park, and the overlook accessibility will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said. Driving to the top won’t be allowed unless the vehicle displays a disability placard.

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Residents will get a sneak peek of the overlook during EchoFest. Tours will be offered throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21, McShane said.

Trail work is expected to begin by May 1 and take six to eight weeks with possible completion in mid-to-late June, weather pending.

Solid Waste Agency officials are working to educate the public about some of the rules for using the area. Because Mount Trashmore is a regulated site — a closed and capped former landfill that must be monitored — trails and the overlook will be accessible only during regular operational hours of the compost facility.

Hours also are being adjusted as of April 2 to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Other rules include that hikers and bikers will be required to stay on the trails; if the main gate is closed the site is closed, and special tours and events must be scheduled in advance by calling 319-377-5290.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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