As the town grows both commercially and residentially, officials in North Liberty are looking toward winter with eyes on a recreational activity that looks to become an increasing traffic headache: snowmobiling.
The city is considering closing all its snowmobile routes, due to infrastructure growth, pointing to an accident that took place last winter. The city council has already passed the first of three readings considering the ordinance.
The aforementioned accident occurred, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen when a snowmobile ran into an electrical box at a roundabout causing no injuries but $20,000 in damage paid for by the city's insurance. Granted, it was exceptionally snowy at times last winter, but the ordinance would aim to prevent such accidents and worse. Most larger cities, which North Liberty is rapidly becoming, do not allow snowmobiles in city limits, with loopholes in place for city highways that have not been plowed.
Needless to say, this idea is not sitting well with snowmobile recreationists, as Chuck Kikutz tells the Press-Citizen. Kikultz is President of Iowa Snowdrifters, a snowmobiling club in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area. They operate their recreational snowmobile club on trails they help maintain during the winter, and Kikultz says the possible elimination of these would also obstruct snowmobile access to gas stations and club sponsors at a popular local bar, Bobber's Grill. He's understanding of eliminating snowmobile routes in busier areas, like on Highway 965 but hopes the city council will reconsider keeping a trail that loops to Bobber's and a BP gas station, near where the aforementioned accident took place.