Ribbon Cutting | Grant Wood Trail through Uptown Marion & Marion’s Central Corridor Project

The City of Marion, Chamber ambassadors, community leaders and the Linn County Trails Association will celebrate the completion of a significant piece of the Grant Wood Trail Project — the opening of 6th Avenue in Marion as part of the Central Corridor Project on Friday, August 6.

The ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. along the newly constructed portion of Sixth Avenue. Parking will be available in the lots of First Federal Credit Union, Starbucks and Your Pie Pizza in the 2600 and 2700 blocks of Seventh Avenue. The public is invited to attend. The street will open to the public immediately following the event.

The 6th Avenue Corridor was the former railroad bed for the Milwaukee Road, which served the community for decades. Plans for the corridor’s conversion have been imagined since the final passenger train rolled through Marion in 1971. The project is an important connection along the Grant Wood Trail, which connects Cedar Rapids, Marion, and greater Linn County.

Marion Central Corridor Project - Map

When the railroad right-of-way was abandoned east of Marion, trails groups across Iowa envisioned a future connection to the Mississippi River. The Linn County Trails Association acted fast to preserve the land for future use as a trail. Marion’s Central Corridor Project is the next exciting leg of trail to open along the abandoned railroad line.

Additional segments are open in Jones and Clinton counties. Construction of a new bridge over Marion Boulevard is underway and will complete the trail’s connection from the former Lindale Trail (now the Grant Wood Trail) into Uptown Marion and onward to greater Linn County.

“What started as a 3.2-mile grass path and a dream has nearly doubled to 6.2 miles of continuous trail,” said Phillip Platz, president of the Linn County Trails Association. “With near-term plans, that length will double again in the next couple of years, connecting Cedar Rapids near the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, through Marion, and on toward Springville. This is an exciting time for trails in Linn County!”

Marion’s Central Corridor Plan was adopted in 2009 to revitalize and redevelop one of the most prominent and identifiable areas within the community. It repurposed the former railroad right-of-way into a street and introduced a long-term traffic management plan for Marion’s core, balancing traffic between Sixth and Seventh avenues and creating a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere in Uptown Marion. In turn, properties once reserved for warehouses and industrial uses are better positioned for a mix of commercial and residential uses.

“This project is a decade in the making,” said Marion Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly. “It shows exactly what can happen when we reach higher and are intentional in our approach. We’re already seeing what is possible when we create an environment that fosters private redevelopment in the commercial core of our city.”

All are welcome! Please join us at this exciting event. RSVP on Facebook.