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      Tips for Trails will fundraise for Highway 34 underpass

      This weekend is the Wapello County Trails Council's fundraising weekend.
      The Wapello County Trails Council holds one weekend of fundraising a year, and this year, it starts Friday.

      Tips for Trails will kick off the weekend Friday from 5-10 p.m. outside the Tom Tom Tap. Celebrity bartenders will be out raising money and there will be a DJ playing outside.

      This year, all fundraising efforts are supporting the Highway 34 underpass project. The underpass will be 127 feet long and will connect the north and south side trails and parks.

      "There's the soccer fields, there's the campgrounds. When there are events, people do try to cross at that midway section and it's just not safe when you have traffic going 45 miles per hour," said Kim Hellige, Wapello County Trails Council. "So we are really excited about the possibility of being able to link the south side of Ottumwa with the trail system on the north side via going underneath the highway."

      Hellige said an engineering study has already been completed and the best place for the underpass has been determined to be near the Bark Park. There are 10 miles of trails in Ottumwa and having this underpass connects it with an additional three miles in the parks. Hellige said the council is hoping to start construction next spring.

      Tips for Trails isn't the only fundraising event, however. Saturday is the council's mediathon, where community members can call in with donations.

      In collaboration with Make Ottumwa Shine week next week, there will be a green hike held Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Participants can meet at KMGO on Main Street and they will be provided with bags and gloves to clean up Ottumwa's trails as they hike.

      For more information on Tips for Trails and the mediathon, visit the Trails Council website.