Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann
Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann
January 16, 2014

City Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann is advocating a city trail spurring from the Sauk Rail Trail into downtown Carroll - a development she believes will pull more visitors into Carroll's commercial district.

"It's a way downtown could benefit," Siemann said.

Siemann has asked Public Works Director Randy Krauel to provide an estimate on cost for the construction of a trail from the Main Street intersection with the county-owned Sauk Trail to downtown Carroll. She wants to see the trail go at least to the vicinity of Rancho Grande, 323 N. Main Street.

"It would be a good thing to bring the trail up Main Street," Siemann said in an interview. "If it isn't too large a number, I think the other council people would be supportive."

Siemann said she would like to see an off-street trail, possibly on the west side of Main Street, as much of it would pass through South Side Park.

According to Carroll County Conservation Board data, the Sauk Trail had average weekly traffic of 263 people between Main Street and U.S. 71 from June to December of 2012. Taking that number across a full year shows traffic of about 14,000 people.

Siemann said it makes sense to attract those trail users - many who come from outside of Carroll - into local businesses. The money they spend there directly benefits the city through increase in local-option sales-tax collections, she noted.

At a recent meeting with young professionals, trails emerged as a "hot topic," Siemann said, adding that she and her husband, Carroll attorney Greg Siemann, are frequent trail users as well. What's more, Siemann said she's had a number of constituents ask for the construction of trails in recent years. Trails can be used for much of the year, she said.

The city's proposed five-year capital improvement plan includes $1.1 million for trails development. The city is now eyeing an initial intracity trail for northeastern Carroll.

Siemann wants to see the Sauk-to-downtown section developed as part of the first wave of trail work.

"I would like to see it done sooner rather than later," Siemann said.