Fundraising is under way for a trail extension that will connect Freeport to the existing Trout Run Trail.

The Trails from Freeport (TFF) board of directors is pleased to announce substantial progress is being made toward the $500,000 goal.

"Efforts have been ongoing for more than two years to extend the trail from Decorah to Freeport," said Board Member Heidi Rockweiler.

"It's a huge safety issue due to heavy vehicular traffic along A6W/ Old Stage Rd. Almost everyone who regularly walks, runs or rides that road to connect with the Trout Run Trail has been forced off the road or come close to being struck by a vehicle at some point."

Interest in extending the trail to Freeport was spurred by the most recent round of TIGER grant funding. While no organization in the State of Iowa received TIGER support from the U.S. Department of Transportation during the last round of funding, the application submitted for the "Freeport to Decorah" spur was among the highest-scoring applications the DOT received from Iowa.

The TFF Board is working closely with Lora Friest, executive director of Northeast Iowa RC&D, and Barb Schroeder, director of the Winneshiek County Conservation Board, to make the Freeport extension a reality. The spur will run from the park in Freeport (252nd Street), cross River Road and proceed south alongside the west ditch beside A6W, eventually connecting to the Trout Run Trail behind Walmart. Both the city of Decorah and Winneshiek County support the trail extension.

Fundraising is actively underway, with donations and pledges totaling more than $75,000 to date. The Board's goal is to reach $125,000, at which time engineering can be finalized and construction begun.

Rubaiyat fundraiser

There will be a special fundraiser for TFF Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Rubaiyat restaurant in Decorah.

"All proceeds raised during the evening will be donated to the trail. It will be a fun-filled evening featuring a variety of wines, beers, and appetizers, as well as silent and live auctions," said Board Member Jerry Weis.

Tax-deductible donations to the Freeport trail project can be made by sending a check payable to Northeast Iowa RC&D to Trails from Freeport Fund, P.O. Box 125, Decorah, IA 52101.