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  • Alma Gaul
  • Tue December 01 2020
  • Posted Dec 15, 2020

Efforts are under way in Princeton to build a portion of the Mississippi River Trail through town and improve its parks. It also is launching a community-wide 'visioning' process to see what other changes might be made to the city's landscape.

Study on an MRT extension — what route it would take through the city and how much it would cost — and possible improvements to the city's parks have already started, Christina McDonough, a member of the Princeton City Council, said.

A year ago, McDonough and others formed a nonprofit entity called Princeton Recreational Trails Inc. to push the MRT and parks efforts. The group is receiving planning help from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

The MRT is a 3,000 mile route that follows the Mississippi from its headwaters in Minnesota to its mouth in Louisiana; most of the route follows roads used by motor vehicles but some of it is the kind of off-road, dedicated trail found in the Quad-Cities through Davenport, Bettendorf and up to Riverdale, where it stops.

Both Princeton and LeClaire eventually want to build dedicated trails within their city limits. After that, the goal would be to work with Scott County to build trails within county boundaries to connect all the pieces, eventually hooking up with Camanche-Clinton upstream, McDonough and Ed Choate, LeClaire City Administrator, said.

In November, the nonprofit surveyed 111 students at Virgil Grissom Elementary School ages kindergarten through sixth grade, asking them what kind of bike trail configuration they would be most comfortable using (on-road but separated from cars, on a separate path from the road etc.) and what kinds of features they'd like to see in the city's three main parks, Harold Woomert, Old School and the playground at Virgil Grissom, McDonough said.

Results showed kids preferred being on a separate path from the road. As for park features, a natural playscape (logs, things to climb on), basketball courts, a bike pump track (a track with bumps and curves), a splash pad and modern play equipment were the top five vote-getters.


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