A lengthy strip of land between Mt. Vernon and Cedar Rapids will be seeing pedestrian and bicycle traffic in coming years, something very different than what went over that same stretch of land nearly 100 years ago.

In its 2020 Annual Report, the Linn County Trails Association gave insight into what will become the Interurban Trail from Cedar Rapids to Mt. Vernon. It will utilize what first began to take shape from 1912 to 1916 when preparations began for a 13-mile, 100-foot wide trolley rail line that would extend from Cedar Rapids to Lisbon. Both a power line and trolley line were installed, and soon a trolley was making the 26-mile round trip each day.

This quote in the Annual Report came from the book "It Took All of Us, 100 Years of Iowa Electric Light and Power Company":

Daily a car full of merchandise went from Cedar Rapids to Mount Vernon. It arrived in the morning and was unloaded on a siding in the square. It then came back empty to Cedar Rapids about five in the evening to return to Mount Vernon the next day. In late 1927, it was decided to abandon this interurban line…

Linn County became interested in purchasing a portion of the former trolley line in 1992, but Alliant Energy declined. In 2017, the company reconsidered, and two years later an agreement was reached to sell the stretch of land from Mt. Vernon to Cedar Rapids. *The portion between Mount Vernon and Lisbon had previously been abandoned by Alliant.

Fast forward to 2023, and the Interurban Trail is becoming much closer to reality. The City of Cedar Rapids will design and build the 2.6 miles of the hard surface trail in Cedar Rapids, from Bever Park to East Post Road, and finally from East Post Road to Rosedale Road. Design work should happen in 2025, with construction in 2026. It's hoped this portion of the trail will be open in 2027.

Linn County Trails Assocaition
Linn County Trails Association

When funds are available, Linn County Conservation will finish the trail from Rosedale Road to Mt. Vernon. A local match from the Linn County Trails Association will be necessary. Donations can be made here.

A drone video shows more detail on the Interurban Trail, and exactly where it will run. You can watch the video here.

The maps below show the expansion of trails in Linn County over the last 20 years. It's incredible what's been accomplished in the last two decades.

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