Three counties that are home to four state parks in northeast Iowa will serve as the first pilot area for a public-private partnership expected to pump at least $6 million into new amenities and improvements intended to better connect Iowans with outdoor recreational opportunities.

“It’s a new dawn for the Iowa parks system,” said Joe Gunderson, president of the Iowa Parks Foundation, in announcing that Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties were picked among four competing regions that offered long-term strategic plans to revitalize park systems in their parts of Iowa.

KCRG TV reported that Gunderson said the Grant Wood Mississippi River region was selected for its potential for land and water trail development and its plans to expand infrastructure and to improve the structural, economic and community connections for the region’s four state parks and scenic byways.

Plans call for a nearly $2 million state appropriation from the Legislature, to be supplemented with contributions from local governments, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals, equating to a three-to-one match that will be used to revitalize the area.

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