Public Safety

Mount Trashmore trails, overlook closed due to vandalism and wet conditions

Trails opened one week ago

Contributed photo of vandalism at Mout Trashmore that occurred overnight Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Photo by the Solid Waste Agency
Contributed photo of vandalism at Mout Trashmore that occurred overnight Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Photo by the Solid Waste Agency
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Days after the opening of Mount Trashmore’s new overlook and trail network, which officials spent more than $700,000 to construct, it has been closed because of vandalism and erosion.

Vandals spray painted new benches, terraced seating, pillars, and a wall at the scenic overlook atop the former landfill, said Joe Horaney, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency. It occurred overnight Wednesday or early Thursday, Horaney said.

Approximately 4 inches of rain recently has saturated the new trails — a biking “flow” trail, hiking, and multiuse trail — prompting their closure, he said.

“We’re waiting for them to dry out, then we can address some of the ripples caused by the rain on the walking trail and the flow trail,” he said. “Some spots will need to be repacked. They are still wet, so that may take some time. We’ll have to regrade the trail head area at the bottom and the multiuse trail.”

Horaney said the vandalism has been reported to police. There are no suspects, but there is security footage and that will be turned over to police in hopes of prosecuting the trespassers, he said.

Fencing surrounds the entire perimeter of the facility, and the area is monitored by security cameras, he said. The agency is evaluating other security options to ensure site safety, he said.

“The vandalism at Mount Trashmore is disappointing and, unfortunately, not the first time since construction of the trails began,” said Cedar Rapids City Council member Susie Weinacht, who is also chair of the Solid Waste Agency board of directors. “If you see something, say something. Together we create the future we wish to see for this beautiful space, and I believe this is not reflective of the community’s we wish to be.”

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Greg Buelow, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids Police Department estimated the damage at $3,000. He said no arrests have been made and the incident is being investigated.

The city is getting cost estimates on cleanup, and benches may need to be replaced, Buelow said. “The plan is to reopen when the trails are ready and vandalism damage is fixed,” Horaney said.

After more than 16 months of construction, the new feature opened on Sept. 13. The overlook budget was $590,000 and included 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.

The site is regulated and still is used as a composting facility. The trails and overlook are only open during hours of operation.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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