JEWELL– On a beautiful fall morning, the new JewEllsworth Trail was officially opened. Saturday, with a good-sized crowd looking on, Hamilton County Conservation Director Brian Lammers cut the ribbon on the concrete recreational trail that now runs between Jewell and Ellsworth.
The three-mile trail that runs along the former railroad bed “has been a long time coming,” Lammers said in his remarks to those assembled. “We had an opportunity to trail bank this property and develop this trail.”
Lammers said funding came from numerous sources for the project. “Raising funds in the middle of a recession was challenging,” he noted, adding that lots of funding came from the state recreational trails fund. The cities of Ellsworth and Jewell plus local co-ops were among the contributors. Sweet Treats, a Jewell ice cream business, accepted donations from their customers that then went on to help fund the trail.
He said he appreciated working with the Natural Heritage Foundation and legislators Rob Bacon and the late Rich Olive, as well as county conservation board members, city councils in both towns, Iowa DOT, MIDAS Council of Governments, and Hamilton Hometowns.
“There were so many things going on behind the scenes during this process,” Lammers said.
It was ten years from the time the idea for the trail first came up until Saturday’s ribbon cutting. “For a short trail, it has been a long journey,” Lammers remarked.
Rick Young, city councilman from Jewell, also spoke at the ribbon cutting. “With obesity on the rise, and heart disease the number-one killer in our state, I think this trail is an important part of helping us live healthy,” he stated.
Young also presented a sign he had made to put along the trail, without Lammers’ knowledge. He said there is an area near the trail that generations of Jewell young people have frequented “to learn about things they didn’t learn from their families.” So to honor Lammers, the sign posted there now reads “Lammers’ Pass.”
Turn to page six to see more photos from the ribbon cutting.