The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 9, 2013

Trails ‘a step in the right direction’

Loebsack participates in discussion about developing a system in Monroe County

ALBIA — Participants in a Tuesday meeting agreed that Monroe County had a lot to offer potential residents. But a good trail system, they told their new congressman, is vital.

Having an accessible trail system has drawn members of the community together to form a Monroe County Trails Committee. For one thing, people who have a place to walk can do one of the exercises nearly everyone can participate in.

And more healthy options fit in with the local hospital’s goals of encouraging a more health-conscious population.

“Our focus will probably begin to shift, to be based on keeping people out of the hospital,” said Shauna Griffin, communication manager at Monroe County Hospital.

That means efforts from the hospital need to include a little less attention on fixing people after they get sick and “more on wellness,” said Griffin.

She said a good, safe trail system “would be a step in the right direction.”

But it’s not just good for people who already live in the Albia area, committee members told  U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack.

The congressman said he understood.

“Outdoor recreation is important for psychological health, as well as physical health,” said Loebsack. “But it’s also an economic development issue.”

That’s right, said Jim Keller, one of the organizers of Monroe County’s “Welcome Home Soldier” monument.

He told Loebsack that he lives locally because he has chosen the county as home. But young professionals looking for work have their choice of where they’re going to live.

“The one thing the young people want is recreation,” Keller said.

Juanita Murphy, the county zoning administrator, agreed.

“Trails are one of the things they look at,” she said.

Even if they’ve already chosen where they’ll work, like one of the skilled jobs at the bio-tech plants in Eddyville, they can move to Albia, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, and, with the faster four-lane, Pella. While Albia has lots to offer, they said, a proper trail system throughout the county is not something they have.

Murphy said in order to attract new residents, “we need some of those amenities.”

Loebsack said he knows recreation isn’t a magic solution guaranteed to bring in more residents and businesses. But it can be a contributing factor.

 “For folks to come into a community, it’s important [because] it can be a draw,” he said, adding that it’s one of the life quality issues that acts as an incentive for people considering Monroe County as their home.

It’s also a safety issue, the committee members told Loebsack because walkers have to step out onto busy streets.

The last time Loebsack was in Albia, a bad knee kept him from going for a run. But he did do a four-mile walk, he said. So he has seen the places that would be connected by a trail system.

He said funding for a trail system in Monroe County would probably be best sought at the state level. The U.S. government provides money for states to distribute as they see fit. If there is federal money for community trails, Loebsack would be willing to help.

“What I can do [most] at the federal level is continue to get funding [for states],” he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

  • Civil War Round Table visited by baseball historian OTTUMWA — The Civil War Round Table was treated to a special guest Thursday night and a presentation about how baseball during the Civil War era helped shape Iowa as we know it. John Liepa, former history and political science professor at Des Moines

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition