The upcoming visit from the Community Planning Assistance Team will be book ended by public meetings, in which Heritage Trail "stakeholders" will be asked to provide the pro-bono planning group with some direction.
The CPAT, which consists of planning professionals from across the country, will kick off a four-day intensive study of the 26-mile-long trail with a Wednesday, Oct. 17, meeting in Dyersville, Iowa. Input gathered will help the team determine suggestions for the trail's growth as an asset to Dubuque County.
Paula Reeves, a community design assistance manager from Washington state, will serve as the team leader. She was part of the advance team that visited Dubuque in June.
"I suspect that just from our initial visit that some of the communities along the route had some different goals," Reeves said. "They weren't all looking at it in exactly the same way."
The team also has solicited public input through a countywide survey and will present its findings during the meeting.
Reeves said that team members come from a variety of planning backgrounds and were chosen for their ability to address challenges specific to the Heritage Trail. Team members have experience in landscape design and stormwater and flood management, as well as transportation and engineering skills.
"(The team has) a good range of skills that sort of cover the gamut of issues that we heard in our first visit," Reeves said.
The CPAT team members will divide their time between hands-on study of the trail and collaborative brainstorming efforts, according to Dubuque County Zoning Administrator Anna O'Shea. The group will present its preliminary findings during a public meeting Saturday, Oct. 20, and will submit a final report a few months later.
O'Shea said the group will likely look into the feasibility of paving the trail, and it will address connectivity issues with cities along the U.S. 20 corridor.
"Hopefully, they will have some ideas on how to make the trail a little more sustainable," O'Shea said.
Reeves said she has participated in about a dozen CPAT studies, but she expects this one to provide challenges. Several cities and organizations have influence over a portion of Heritage Trail, and many have expressed different priorities.
"Typically, the ones I've been involved in have been in one jurisdiction, but this particular trail runs through several jurisdictions," Reeves said. "So the outreach and coordination is really a big part of this workshop."