Linn County Trails Association

LCTA is an all-volunteer organization supporting the development of nature trails for recreation and commuting in Linn County, Iowa.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Monthly Board Meetings Moving to Mondays

Beginning with this month's meeting (Mon Jan 11), the monthly LCTA board meeting will now be taking place on the second Monday of the month, instead of Tuesday as was the case previously. As a reminder, board meetings are always open to the public and visitors are always welcome.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Support Linn County Trails and Bicycle Efforts

Ride with several Linn County officials in the 2009 Mayors' Bike Ride. This year's ride celebrates bicycling efforts and opportunites in Linn County. Flood repairs, Ellis and Cedar River Trail are now complete, Cedar Rapids' effort to achieve bicycle friendly status and new trail development are all reasons to celebrate and participate in the ride. Linn County Trails Association, Hawkeye Bicycle Association, Cedar Rapids' Bicycle Advisory Committee, Iowa Bicycle Coalition and Linn Area Mountain Bike Association will provide information and answer questions before the ride. The ride is Monday, September 7. Registration begins at 9:00am at Ellis Park, Cedar Rapids. It is free for all ages. The ride will begin at 10:15am. There are 8 mile and 2.5mile routes. Make an effort to show your support and attend.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Indian Creek Flooding Leads to Trail Closures

Boyson Trail
After the June 2008 flood, the Marion Parks Department did an excellent of quickly repairing the Boyson Trail in Marion. Last week’s heavy rain has them working again. $250,000 estimated damage resulted from flash flooding along Indian Creek. The entire length of the trail is closed. Marion Parks Director Richard Fox is asking the public not to use the trail to avoid interfering with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts. Not only does the surface of the trail need restoration, but in some sections the sub-base will also need repair (above inset). Trail repairs may take as long as two months. The Parks Department hopes to have some of the trail and the parks (Boyson and Thomas) open for use on October 15th.

Sac and Fox Trail
Flood repairs on the Sac and Fox Trail suffered a temporary setback. Work had just begun when last week’s rain elevated Indian Creek. The bridge across Indian Creek at Mt Vernon Road had been restored, but the bridge connecting the Sac and Fox Trail and the Indian Creek Nature Center is now displaced. Several areas of the trail experienced additional damage. The Sac and Fox remains closed for flood repairs, perhaps until October.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Update on Flood Repairs:

Recent wet weather has slowed trail repairs. As of August 22nd, sections of the Cedar River Trail (at the 4th Street Entrance and near the landfill entrance) are still closed. Sections of the Ellis Trail remain closed with some of the work near completion. The section along the power plant lagoon as well as the entire Ellis Trail will probably open next week. The above picture is the section of the Cedar River Trail near the old Sinclair Bridge. This section of trail was prone to flooding before. The new elevation, encouraged by the Linn County Trails Association, is a welcomed sight for many trail users. The city's goal is to have the entire Cedar River Trail opened by Labor Day weekend.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trails and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan

At the most recent open houses (August 18 and 19) on the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Master Plan, three options were made available for public comment and input. Each option focused on three areas: Parks and Open Space, Riverfront, and Indoor Recreation. Trails were a key component in each of the options, but the focus and prioritization of trails varied. Here is a brief summary of the options and their relation to trails.
1. The Decentralized System Option
This option is similar to the current system. Parks are evenly distributed throughout the city. Its focus would enhance existing facilities rather than creating new ones.
· Provides some trail connectivity.
· More affordable due to the lower amount of new trails built.
· This option incorporates already existing and funded potential trails.
· Leads to a less extensive trail system.
· Does not maximize trail connectivity.
2. The Centralized System Option:
This option prioritizes trail segments that connect to the river front and city center. Its emphasis is on the development of trails that connect regional systems and neighborhoods to the riverfront, the Greenway, and the city center.
· Increase connectivity to the downtown core for some neighborhoods and the riverfront.
· Increases trails’ level of services in the downtown core.
· Does not maximize connectivity to neighborhoods and other trails.
· Has a capital cost of $25 million.
Important trails targeted for development: CEMAR Trail , Ellis Trail, Lincoln (Inter-Urban) Trail, Prairie Creek Trail. This option map had pedestrian bridges across the Cedar River. One bridge connecting Mohawk Park with Ellis Park and another bridge linking the Cedar River Trail to the Sac and Fox trail using the old Sinclair Bridge pilings.
3. The Hybrid System Option:
This option focused on developing trails that connect selected “clustered” parks (Ellis, Cherry Hill, Jones, Bever, and Noelridge) where recreational opportunities are focused with in the city limits.
· Increase connectivity between cluster parks.
· Creates several trail loops in different parts of the city.
· Partial dispersal of parks and facilities causes some duplication in staff, maintenance and facilities, increasing operating costs.
Emphasized trails: CEMAR Trail, Ellis Trail, Kirkwood Trail Extension, Lincoln Trail, Morgan Creek Trail (connecting to Ellis Trail).
As cost saving measures all the options entertained the idea of converting some areas that have little or no recreational value to low-mow and prairie plantings and/or an adopt-a-park program for new residential development. All of the display boards from this event will be posted on the website later this week with an online feedback form for residents who could not attend these events. Hurry, the comment period will last until only August 25th. The Draft Master Plan Presentation will be Tuesday, October 6th at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom from 4-7pm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flood Repairs Begin!

In the next month, several Metro Area trails will be closed for reconstruction and repair from the 2008 flood. For your safety, remember to obey all signage and barricades. In addition, who wants to pay those outrageous trespassing fines?
The following proposed schedule of closures is subject to change due to weather conditions and contractor preferences.

Cedar River Trail

August 10th through 16th:
Cedar River Trail between 29th St. and 42nd St.

August 10th through September 3rd:
Cedar River Trail from A Street (Landfill entrance) to the bridge over Prairie Creek.

August 17th to August 20th:
Cedar River Trail: 4th Street Entrance to Shaver Rd. (Along the old power plant lagoon)

August 24th to September 3rd:
Cedar River Trail at the 8th Ave. Bridge.

Ellis Trail
August 17th to August 21st:
Ellis Trail at Penn Ave.

Sac an Fox Trail:

September 8th to September 19th:
Sac and Fox Trail from Cole St. parking lot to Mount Vernon Rd.

If you need ideas where to ride, this is a great opportunity to explore the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and Boyson Trail. They are in great condition.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Linn County Mayors' Bicycle Ride

The Mayors' Bicycle Ride is an 8 mile fun ride through central Cedar Rapids on Labor Day, Monday September 7, 2009 starting and ending at Ellis Park. An optional 2.5 mile ride is available. The Mayors' Bike Ride is sponsered by Linn Coutny Trails Association and the City of Cedar Rapids. All Mayors and city council members within Linn County are invited to participate to recognize the recreational bicycling opportunities within Linn County.

Registration for the Mayors' Bike Ride is from 9:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. on September 7 in the lower parking lot of Ellis Park (Ellis Blvd). Announcements and presention of the participating Linn County Mayors will be from 10:00 to 10:15. The ride will commence at 10:15. This is a fun ride, not a race.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nature Rocks Fundraiser -- June 21st

Relax, Renew, Recycle

“Nature Rocks – The Concert”
A GREEN Benefit for
The Indian Creek Nature Center & SPT Theatre Company
Sunday, June 21, 7-10 p.m.

Creek Nature Center

6665 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids

The outdoors on the summer solstice
Authentic Mexican food by Tony Bata
Chair massage by Massage Therapist Alex Collins
A live music concert by SPT’s Doug Elliott, Gerard Estella, Janelle Lauer, Jane Pini and guest artist Dave Moore
Educational displays
Fun lessons about recycling by the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency –

Lawn chairs
Food and beverages in recyclable containers

Get there:
Drive a hybrid car, carpool or bicycle
Park your car at the Sac & Fox Trail and walk

Tickets are $25 for adults, children 16 and under are free.
Call the Nature Center at (319) 362-0664 or pay at the gate

Thank you:

Alliant Energy
Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency
Cedar Rapids Toyota
Habitat for Humanity Restore
Linn County Trails Association

OPN Architects

Friday, June 05, 2009

National Trails Day -- Reminder

As a reminder (see entry from May 12th), National Trails Day is this Saturday, June 6th. LCTA will be out on the Cedar River Trail from 8am - 10am with a free progressive breakfast. LCTA is also sponsoring a walk with the Linn County Conservation Department at Morgan Creek Park (meeting at the arboretum) beginning at 8am. A flyer with more details may be downloaded here.

A list of National Trails Day activities in Iowa can also be found at the American Hiking Society website.

See you on the trails!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trail Development and Site Beautification at Taylor School

Contributed by Brandi Holten of the Taylor community

Planting for the Future (PFF) is a project at Taylor Elementary School designed to revitalize the outdoor trails intended for everyday use by students and is a vibrant public space that welcomes visitors. The original trail was constructed 15 years ago and has overgrown over time. In addition, the flood of 2008 washed away the top layer of trail rock. An initial community project to replace the trail rock was completed in October of 2008 to begin trail revitalization. The landscaping and trail needed attention to enhance environmental education and aesthetics for students, staff, and community members.

Over 70 volunteers gathered on May 2nd to show their support for the reopening and revitalization of Taylor School. Several projects were completed, including construction of the new trail, grounds cleanup, preparation of the prairie grass area, planting of shrubs and trees, and reseeding grass.

Planting for the Future projects are made possible with the support of and collaboration with the following organizations: Iowa State Education Association: CLASS Grant and ISEA member donations; Trees Forever: Recover, Replant, Restore Grant; Linn County Trails Association; Hoffman Landscape Design; the Cedar Rapids Parks Department; Cedar Rapids Kernels Foundation; Rockwell Collins: Green Communities Grant; and the Taylor Community in general.

Future Planting for the Future Projects:
1. Adding at least five fitness stations along the trail
2. Planting a rain garden
3. Constructing a green house
4. Creating signage along the trail
5. Building an outdoor classroom
6. Planting prairie grasses and a butterfly garden

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National Trails Day

National Trails Day is an important and fun trails event that happens annually in June. This year, National Trails Day is on Saturday, June 6th. As in previous years, LCTA is hosting free snacks and beverages on the trail from 8am - 10am at the following locations: Sokol Park, Greene Square Park, and McLoud Park. Also, the Linn County Conservation Department is hosting a hike at Morgan Creek Park (arboretum area) starting at 8:00am.

Come out and enjoy the festivities!

The LCTA flyer for National Trails Day is available here.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

CEMAR Trail Alignment Alternatives

In December 2008, Anderson-Bogert engineers put together a trail alignment for the CEMAR trail, as well as a number of alternative alignments. These alignments have been translated to a Google maps format and are available on the LCTA wiki on this page. Check it out!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tree Plantings for Trails

Trees Forever along with Alliant Energy has announced a program called "We Dig Your District" to plant trees in each of the five Cedar Rapids City Council Districts. They are asking for suggestions for locations (including trails) that could benefit from a few well-placed trees. See the Trees Forever web site for more information.

LCTA would like to submit suggestions for one or more of the council districts. Please post comments here with trail locations, trail parking lots or other trail related location that additional trees would contribute to a healthier and more beautiful community. Include a description of what makes this location special and how trees would make a difference at this site. Alternatively, you are welcome to submit your suggestion directly to Trees Forever as described on their web site.

Important: The deadline for submission is February 25!

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

CEMAR Trail Informational Meeting



DECEMBER 13, 2008 - 10:00 A.M.


1700 B Ave. NE


The City of Cedar Rapids, in cooperation with the Mound View Neighborhood Association, is hosting a public information meeting for the CeMar Recreational Trail.

The trail will generally follow the old Railroad right-of-way from Cedar Lake to Arthur Elementary School, and eventually to the Cedar Rapids-Marion city limits.

The meeting will be an “open house” format from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, on Saturday, December 13, 2008, at the Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, 1700 B Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At this meeting, the public will have the opportunity to view project data and issues identified to date, improvement and alignment concepts, and speak with the design representatives concerning the project. You may come at any time during this period. There will be no formal presentation.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting, so the City may have public input concerning project needs, and can obtain the neighborhood perspective.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Check out the LCTA Wiki

You'll notice that there haven't been a lot of blog entries lately. While we may post entries here in the future, we are also trying to build interest in the LCTA wiki site, where the community (that means you) can both read and contribute information about trails in Linn County.

Please check out the wiki and consider contributing! Thanks.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Safety on Linn County Trails

As many of you following the local news have heard, a body was found along the Cedar River Trail recently (see the KCRG news story). It's not clear at this point what the circumstances were surrounding this unfortunate occurrence, but in any case it is an opportunity for us to consider again the issues of trail safety.

LCTA has published a trail safety video (and it is recommended that everyone check it out) but this video focuses on "operational" trail safety, not so much on personal safety while using the trail. I think some personal safety tips would be an appropriate addition to the website. With that in mind, I'm opening this up to comments -- let's have a discussion about personal trail safety. What are the key things to keep in mind? Can we prevent situations like those described today in the news? How can we work to ensure that the trail system is considered a "safe" place for recreation and transportation?


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Celebrate National Trails Day -- June 2

Keith Sutherland writes:

The Linn County Trails Association is holding our 12th annual progressive breakfast on the Cedar River Trail at McCloud Run, Greene Square Park, and Sokol Park from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.. Hike, bike, or rollerblade the trail and have breakfast -- at no charge -- at the three stops.

The Linn County Conservation Board is offering a hike in Squaw Creek County Park. Meet at the parking area near Meadowlark Shelter and explore the trails through the wooded hillsides and stream valleys. The Linn County Trails Association is cosponsoring this program and will be providing a healthy breakfast at the start of the hike. The cost is $2.50/adult, $1/child 16 and under, or $5/family.

The Hawkeye Bicycle Association is holding a family fun ride, starting at 10 AM. Bring the whole family and ride from the trailhead at the Indian Creek Nature Center to the Cole Street Access and back. The distance is approximately 7 miles. Helmets are required. LCTA will provide free drinks, snacks, and trail maps, and will have t-shirts for sale.

State Senator Rob Hogg's annual bike tour of Senate District 19 will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. His guests on the tour include State Representatives Art Staed and Tyler Olson, Cedar Rapids City Council Member Tom Podzimek, and, for part of the tour, Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran. You are welcome to ride along, or visit with these representatives (about state and city policies on trails, we hope!) at one or more of the stops.

The stops on the tour include:
10:00 a.m. - Fox Trail Park (off of Council St. NE north of 74th St. NE)
10:30 a.m. - Noelridge Park (along Council St. NE north of 42nd St. NE)
11:00 a.m. - Pierce Park (off of Wenig Road NE north of 42nd St. NE)
11:45 a.m. - Tomahawk Park (off of E Avenue NE south of 20th St. NE)
12:30 p.m. - Bever Park (along Bever Ave. SE east of Memorial Dr. SE)
1:15 p.m. - Cottage Grove Parkway Park (at Sac and Fox Trail off of East
Post Road SE)
2:30 p.m. - Cedar Valley Park (south of Memorial Dr. SE and Otis Road SE)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

LCTA/HBA Joint Ride

Amy Reasner writes:

Greetings! We have another opportunity for a joint event with Hawkeye Bicycle Association (HBA)!

Would any LCTA members be willing to set up at the CVNT Hiawatha trail head at around 9:30 a.m. Saturday May 12th with our banner and hand out bottled water, granola bars and our new trail maps? I think we should stay for the riders' return, too. You would probably be done around 11:30 or so. Two or three volunteers should be plenty, one with a cooler/ice for the water.

Please email me if you are able to help. This joint venture will be a great chance to meet new trail users/supporters. Even if you cannot assist (or you want to ride!), please post this at your work-place or forward it to friends/family who might want to go on the ride. Let's get a big crowd for the event!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Keep Linn County Beautiful -- Volunteers Needed

Jim Healy writes the following:

I called the contact person (Kristin) at the number indicated to inquire about LCTA getting volunteers to do Cedar Lake again. While she was grateful for our willingness to organize a group, she explained her dilemma. The last couple years they had many energetic and welcomed volunteers. Among the individuals and groups are quite a number with children. Children are not allowed to work the I-380 right-of-way for safety and liability reasons. Therefore, these groups like to volunteer for parks and trail areas. As a result, they have been short of volunteers in some areas (particularly along I-380) and long in others.

This year LCTA is taking a different approach. The Keep Linn County Beautiful organization does a magnificent job of organizing the event and assigning individuals to areas that need attention. Rather than duplicate and complicate the registration process, I encourage you to register as individuals according to the instructions in the article below.

Just showing up is also an option. Your pre-registration will improve your probability of getting a tee-shirt. When you register you can also designate your preference for an area to work. The most important thing is to "get-er-done!"

Thank you for your willingness to participate and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Jim Healy

Linn County Trails Association



Warmer weather reveals trash and litter that has accumulated along our roadsides, waterways and in our parks over the winter. Pitch in to clean up Linn County by participating in the fourth annual Keep Linn County Beautiful I-380 Cleanup April 22. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome.

The cleanup event kicks off at 12:30 pm with registration at Veteran's Memorial Stadium. Volunteers will be assigned cleanup locations, pick up bags, and receive safety instructions. Volunteers will clean up portions of I-380, McCloud Run, Cedar Lake, and area parks. A Free picnic for volunteers will be hosted at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 3 pm with the generous
support of our sponsors.

Pre-registration is recommended. Same day registration is available, however T-shirts are limited. For more information or to pre-register log on to or call 365-9941 ext. 26.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Trail Maps

Thanks to the hard work by many volunteers over the winter months, the 2007 Metro Area Trails Guide maps have been printed and are available now. Check out your nearest LCTA Map Box on the trails to get a copy.

The information on the map is also available on the LCTA web site at

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bike Ride with Hawkeye Bicycle Association -- April 7th

Amy Reasner writes:

Now that spring is in the air--let's get those bicycles out and go for a ride!!! Join the Hawkeye Bicycle Association and Linn County Trails Association in a Family Fun Bike Ride April 7 at 10 a.m. We'll start at Sokol Park (16th Avenue and "A" Street SW, Cedar Rapids) and ride to Ely Road and back--which is a total of 8 miles. Helmets are required. It will be a leisurely pace. LCTA will provide snacks/beverages, trail maps and will be selling our t-shirts at Sokol park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. LCTA will be introducing our "new" and "improved" trail map which will show you all the new trails added and planned since our last map of our metro area trails. Check it out!

Tell your friends, bring a crowd, let's introduce some new folks to the trail system and to our new partner, the Hawkeye Bicycle Association. Visit their website at for more family fun bike rides coming up after April, 2007.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

2007 Trail Maps Almost Ready

The LCTA Map Committee has completed major design of the printed Metro Area Trails Guide for 2007. The full-color fold-out map is expected to go to the printers in a week or less, and should be ready for distribution by April 1. Look for the map this spring on a trail near you.

The map graphics contained in the Metro Area Trails Guide are available online NOW. Check out the newly revised and updated maps available at Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Springtime at Indian Creek Nature Center

Rich Patterson from Indian Creek Nature Center writes:

"It has been a strange weather winter and many people have called asking whether the warm and then cold winter will impact the sap flow from maple trees. Probably not. It's the immediate weather that makes sap flow. The best conditions are starry nights when the temperature drops down into the 20's followed by sunny days with temperatures in the 40's. The sap season can be as short as a few days or as long as six weeks. It generally runs from late February through March.

The Indian Creek Nature Center's Maple Syrup Festival will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4. It features demonstrations, live music, and a wonderful breakfast. Tickets are available at the door or in advance. The Nature Center also holds syruping programs for groups by appointment on various days in March. Call 362-0664 for information. Nature Center Land steward Jean Wiedenheft will hold two burn schools this spring for people who would like to learn how to conduct prescribed burns in woodlands and prairies. Woodland burn school is on March 24 and Prairie Burn School is on March 31.

The Woman's Walking Workshop will be held all day on Saturday, April 28. Call for details.

Spring is a great time to enjoy walking the Cedar Greenbelt National Recreation Trail. Use is free, and the trail is open any daylight hour."

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trees Forever Planting Areas 2007

Karen from Trees Forever writes:

We are currently in the process of identifying sites for We Dig Your District 2007!...

We really enjoyed working with you [LCTA] last year and would like to encourage your members to nominate sites, trails or otherwise, for the program. The deadline is in mid-March, but the earlier you submit your sites, the better.

More details and a submission form can be found on the Trees Forever website.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

City of Cedar Rapids Open Houses

Ron McGraw writes:

"In January there are going to be three open houses on the reoganization process for the city of Cedar Rapids. This is your chance to weigh in on how the city will be restructured.

The information will be repeated at three open houses:
  • Tuesday Jan. 23, 11am-2pm, US cellular Arena
  • Thursday Jan. 25, 5-8pm, Washington HS Cafeteria
  • Saturday Jan. 27, 10am-1pm, Jefferson HS Cafeteria"

The first of these open houses was today and was well-attended, as reported by KCRG: Plan to attend one of the remaining open houses if you can.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jan 2007 Newsletter Published

The January 2007 LCTA Trail Connections newsletter has been published and is available on the "News" page. Printed versions will be arriving in the mail shortly. Enjoy!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

LCTA Meetings Moving to 2nd Tuesday

For several years now, LCTA monthly board meetings have been held on the second Monday of each month. However, as of January 2007, monthly meetings will take place on the second Tuesday of each month. Thus the January meeting (for example) will meet on January 9, 2007. Please take note and update your schedule appropriately.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

LCTA "Low Key" Special Event Ideas

Sandy and I (Joe) have recently discussed the idea of aiming at having one "low key" event per month from April through October. A rough start at such a list is available here. Discussion?

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Seeking Web Site Feedback

The LCTA Public Awareness Committee is seeking input on the LCTA website (, including this blog site. A web site redesign may be appropriate in the future to improve lines of communication between LCTA and the community. Any advice or particular recommendations toward that goal will be appreciated. A few questions to stimulate discussion:

How often do you frequent the web site? If content were more dynamic (frequently updated) would you visit the site more often?

What do you most like/most dislike about the design of the site (organization, color scheme, availability or lack of specific information..)?

How do you view the LCTA web site: primarily as a documentation of past trail endeavors, a guide to trails currently open for public use, a source for information about current events soon to take place, or a mechanism for allowing strategic information sharing about future trails plans?

Thanks for your thoughts. :-)


Saturday, November 11, 2006

CR City Manager to Speak at LCTA Annual Meeting (Nov 13)

This is a reminder that the Linn County Trails Association is holding its Annual Meeting next Monday (Nov 13) at 7:00 p.m. at People’s Unitarian Church. The church is located at the corner of 6th Street and 3rd Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids. Jim Prosser, Cedar Rapids City Manager, will be our featured speaker. In addition, we will have a limited business agenda and an election of officers.

We would love to have a large group of trail supporters on hand. Jim is new to our community and we are pleased that he has agreed to address LCTA. I am certain there will be a Q & A opportunity and we will all benefit from Jim’s perspective on trails.