MASON CITY, Iowa – After 25 years of hard work, the Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP) has helped bring bike trails and walking paths to cities across Iowa.
Areas like Lime Creek Nature Center in Mason City are a product of this non-profit organization, but all of the work that has been accomplished over the years has been done under a pretty tight budget.
John Groninga has been working with REAP since the very beginning as he held a position as the floor manager in the Iowa House of Representatives.
Groninga says that during his time working with REAP, they never managed to receive a full budget approval from lawmakers in Des Moines, but is hopeful that their luck is about to change.
“There was $16 million in there for REAP,” says State Rep. Sharon Steckman, (D) Mason City about budget proposals for the 2014 session.
Steckman tells us that an amendment was made on the original $16 million plan that would increase the proposal to $20 million and an additional $5 million would be added from the states overflow account to make it an even $25 million in honor of the 25th anniversary.
Funding of this size could help with not only maintaining trails, paths and nature centers, but also expanding and creating new recreational areas for all to enjoy.
Steckman says that even though the funding amount is in honor REAP’s milestone anniversary, it will be those who enjoy the outdoors who will ultimately “reap” the benefits.
Final decisions about the budget and whether or not REAP will receive the full $25 million is expected to be determined by the end of the month.