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Waterloo gets funds for downtown marina, Shaulis trail extension

Waterloo gets funds for downtown marina, Shaulis trail extension

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WATERLOO — The city has secured federal transportation funds to help construct a downtown Cedar River marina and extend the Shaulis Road recreational trail.

The Waterloo City Council has approved funding agreements with the Iowa Department of Transportation to cover 80 percent of the cost of both projects slated for construction next year.

Funding comes from the Transportation Alternatives Program, a portion of the federal highway funds set aside for smaller-scale transportation efforts such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails and safe routes to school projects. One TAP agreement provides $459,000 for the estimated $574,000 marina on the west bank of the Cedar River just upstream from U.S. Highway 63, or Mullan Avenue.

“Basically there’s going to be a trail down the side of the levee that will land down along the edge of the river that will have concrete boat slips designed for canoes and kayaks,” said City Engineer Jamie Knutson. “It doesn’t include any buildings or anything like that.”

The proposed marina would be located on the Cedar Valley TechWorks campus on land donated by Deere and Co. The city has been earmarked $1 million in Iowa Reinvestment District funding to help construct buildings associated with the marina.

City officials are still working to secure a developer for the project. Initial designs included a building with a restaurant or pub, which would also house a retail business leasing the watercraft.

Knutson said design of the trail and boat slips will take place over the winter months with construction tentatively expected to start in late 2020.

The second TAP agreement provides $474,000 toward an estimated $593,000 project to extend the Shaulis Road trail about three-fourths of a mile from Cedar Terrace Road east to the Cedar Valley Natural Trail. The existing trail runs along the north side of Shaulis Road from U.S. Highway 63 to Isle of Capri Boulevard, which is the entrance to the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. Longtime plans have existed to extend the trail to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which runs between Evansdale and Cedar Rapids.

Construction of the portion from Cedar Terrace Drive to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail is tentatively planned for 2020.

There will still be an unfunded gap in the Shaulis Road trail from Isle of Capri Boulevard east to Cedar Terrace Drive.

“The stretch from Isle of Capri to Cedar Terrace will be looked at as part of the Shaulis Road reconstruction,” Knutson said. “We are currently looking at ways to get across (U.S. Highway) 218 to Cedar Terrace.”

The city has hired an engineering firm to study the reconstruction of Shaulis Road, taking into account flooding issues, the awkward intersection with U.S. 218 and Dysart Road, and potential traffic increases and changes associated with the planned Lost Island Theme Park in the area.

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