Ventura’s plan for recreational trail put on hold

A tie vote ended Ventura’s pursuit of a proposed recreational trail along East Lake Street.

The Ventura City Council voted 2-2 on Feb. 26, on a motion to authorize its city administrator to submit an application to the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for its East Lake Street Recreational Trail.  Councilmen John Quintus and Dar Avery voted in favor of the application, while Brian Vaage and Pete Cash voted against the measure.  Councilman Mike Thackery was on vacation and not at the meeting.

The idea of creating a recreational trail along the well-traveled East Lake Street was first brought up by Thackery last fall.  The Council spent $1,800 for a preliminary engineering plan which resulted in a concept design created by Veenstra & Kimm, of Mason City.

Consulting Engineer Jason Petersburg presented the design to the Council, showing the proposed work separated into three segments stretching from Main Street to Clark Road.

  The first segment included a new sidewalk from Main Street to Kimball Road.  Petersburg shared that TAP funds are not available for sidewalks, therefore if the Council moved forward the entire cost, estimated at $261,799, would be borne by the City.

Segment two consisted of a 10-foot trail on the north side of East Lake Street from Kimball Road, traveling east to the entrance of McIntosh Woods State Park.  Petersburg explained that there simply wasn’t enough room on the lakeside to accommodate the trail.  From McIntosh Woods State Park the trail would be on the south side of the road until the trail that leads back to Lido Road, slightly before the Venetian Village Bridge.  Segment two was estimated to cost $755,211.  The city’s share would be $229,847.

Segment three continued to Clark Road with a combination of painted designated bike lanes on the existing roadway and 25 percent funding of the culvert/bridge improvements to expand the culvert to accommodate the trail.  The bridge/culvert improvements are estimated at $875,000, bringing the total cost for segment three to $2.2 million.  City share of segment three is estimated at $1.2 million.

During the public hearing to make application for TAP funding, three Ventura residents spoke out against the idea, saying they

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