A ribbon cutting and lighting ceremony will be held Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018 at 7 p.m. to commemorate the completion of the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) Waukee Trailhead Public Art Project.
Waukee Betterment Foundation President Jim Miller and his fundraising co-chair Randy Jensen led the charge to raise $1.1 million for the creation and installation of Waukee Railroad Pergola: In the Shadow of the Rails. The vision started in 2012 when Miller and Jensen first formed the Waukee Trailhead Public Art Committee.
“We wondered how we could make the Waukee Trailhead a more noticeable gateway to the trail. We joked about building an arch; then we laughed and moved on,” said Miller. “But that conversation stuck with me, and I thought maybe we really could do something special.”
Now, that vision is a reality. The community gathering place and regional gateway to the RRVT, located near the intersection of Hickman Road and 10th Street, was designed by David Dahlquist and RDG Planning & Design. The construction and installation of Waukee Railroad Pergola: In the Shadow of the Rails wrapped up in late 2017. The art piece features red and white columns to visually echo former railway signage. The piece celebrates the railroad history of Waukee, and features LED lights to make nighttime riding more enjoyable.
“Just as the railroad once linked one community to the next, so does the Raccoon River Valley Trail today,” said Waukee Parks & Recreation Director Matt Jermier. “The former rail system was actually repurposed to form the Raccoon River Valley Trail.”
And, the Waukee project is the catalyst for creating a regional vision plan that uses the “Shadow of the Rails” public art theme to bring an enhanced identity to the RRVT and its communities. There are currently eight other communities along the RRVT planning to incorporate artistic elements from Waukee’s design into their respective locations. Once completed, the public art features will be located along the full 89-mile trail corridor – creating one of the longest linear public art installations in the country.
The City of Waukee, the Waukee Betterment Foundation, the Waukee Trailhead Public Art Committee and the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association will join together at the Waukee Trailhead to celebrate the public art installation and site enhancement project on Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018 at 7 p.m. Brief remarks by Waukee Mayor Bill Peard, Jim Miller and Randy Jensen will be given prior to a ribbon cutting. See the beautiful art piece and its LED features lit up at night for the first time. Members of the public are welcome at this event; bring your bike for an evening ride afterward!