Vinton will see a distinctive beginning of a new trail network as the City of Vinton has taken the first steps to building a two-mile glowing recreational trail south of town, the first in the country according to Matt Boggess of Vinton Parks and Rec.
“The idea for the trail generated itself more than a decade ago, when a former director wanted to set up a comprehensive trail network throughout Vinton,” Matt Boggess, Director of Vinton Parks and Rec said. “Shive-Hattery out of Cedar Rapids was brought on board as engineers for the project to put together a master plan. The project really never went further than just a concept phase.”
Boggess and former director Brad Barker revisited the idea years later, with Boggess keeping the ball rolling when Barker moved on from the position. Prices were updated to allow for the department to search for grants to fund the $600,000 project. Funding from the state has been received for the overall project as well.
“The synopsis is to make Vinton a more mobile, accessible community for residents and visitors,” Boggess said. “We talked with Shive-Hattery again about how we could connect all three of the school buildings.”
Phases have been planned out for the project and Boggess came forward with the idea for the first two-mile section south of town. He had seen images of glow-in-the dark trails over in European countries such as Poland and the Netherlands. Nothing close had been replicated in the U.S., so Boggess pitched the idea of being the first in the nation to adopt a trail decorated with this stone material that glowed after 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight. The rock is produced by a Candian company Ambient Glow Technology.
“15 minutes a day in the sun gives you 15 hours of light for 20 years,” Boggess said. “We’ll let the stone light do the work and not flood it with any other sources of light for now.”
The “Sidewalk to Nowhere” will be extended to the south and then back up to the high school. This phase will be paved. Dirt work has already been underway for a month according to Boggess. The trail is expected to be completed before winter hits Vinton to allow people on the trail by the summer.
“I’m really excited for this project and the economic impact it can have,” Boggess said. “We’ll get visitors from out of town who have never seen anything like this. Hopefully, they’ll stay in town and dine in our local establishments. There are so many possibilities for our town. I cannot wait for this trail to be ready.”
This is a developing story and Vinton Newspapers will have more information as updates are made available.