Five years and $1.2 million later, Moline has put the finishing touches on improvements to Prospect Park, the hilly, heavily wooded and much-loved area of the city that’s been a park for more than 100 years.
Moline Mayor Don Welvaert and officials presided Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Trinity Trails at Prospect Park. The new two-mile trails are a series of paved walking paths designed for different fitness levels.
“A number of years ago, when we began this project, Trinity was instrumental in helping us,” Welvaert said. The trails — designed as easy, medium and difficult — recently were paved to cap off the park’s improvements, which date to 2006. The city has also improved the pond, pavilion and auditorium besides adding a popular disc golf course and special signage.
The walking trials were designed by Dan Saskowski, Trinity Regional Health System’s manager of cardiac rehabilitation. He used a consultant to help with topography that includes hills and ravines in the 25-acre park. The paths wind up, down and around the hills.
Originally, the trails were paved with rock to be easier on users’ knees, the mayor explained, but erosion ruined that surface. The hard surface installed this year was accomplished with $302,500 in city funds and grants from foundations.
“The fitness trails are beautiful and have something to offer every level of walking, from the beginner who can walk around the pond to the more advanced walker who scales the hills and stairs,” Saskowski said.
Welvaert said the park promotes physical fitness and the beauty of nature.
Rick Seidler, Trinity’s president and CEO, tied the fitness trails to the hospital system’s mission of helping to prevent illness as well as providing needed heathcare services.
“This park gives us the opportunity to do something ‘concrete’ to help improve the health of the people in the communities we serve,” he quipped. “We are proud to be integrally involved in this project.”
Prospect Park’s walking trails are well-used, especially by the people in the neighborhood. Among them are the Prospect Trailers: Lori Wilson, the coordinator, who works for the city’s parks department, Cathy White and Lois Marsoun, all of Moline. The Trailers meet at 9 a.m. each Thursday for an hour-long walk around the park, Wilson said. They watched the resurfacing project as it continued through the summer.
“It’s convenient and easy,” White said, terming the smooth but hard surfaces “really great.”
Marsoun appreciates the park’s natural beauty, including the variety of flowers and different types of wildlife. “You can see things here you won’t see in other places,” she said.
Trinity Trails at Prospect Park is the newest Quad-City example of an area hospital organization pairing up with a city to improve fitness opportunities in a public space. Genesis Health System partnered with the city of Davenport in 2008 to establish an outdoor fitness center at Eastern Avenue Park along the Duck Creek recreation path.