Bike path to Gilbo-town

Two and a half miles north of Ames rests the town of Gilbert. The town of approximately 1,000 boasts its own school district, the great tie connecting the otherwise isolated communities. Due to unusual school district boundaries, the Gilbert School District actually extends beyond the town limit, two and a half miles to the south and into the city of Ames. This territory reaches an end at Bloomington Road, where the Ames School District officially begins. The significance of the school district boundaries is that nearly 300 registered Gilbert students live in the city of Ames. Belonging to Gilbert spiritually but Ames physically, these families are stranded on an island of turmoil. Several groups, however, have stepped forward in an effort to unite the two communities. To connect the gap between them, the group plans to pave a bike trail along the Union Pacific railroad from the south side of Gilbert to Bloomington Road in Ames. The thought behind the bike trail is that it will allow Ames residents attending Gilbert schools safer and easier access to district sites. The plan seems to offer quite a bit for members of the Gilbert community, but what can the citizens of Ames gain from this new trail? Is it possible that the small community to the north has something to offer, something missing in the big college town? “No,” junior Jason Kemis, who lives in the Gilbert school district north of Bloomington Road, said. “Gilbert’s just plain Gilbert.” In truth, Gilbert has little that Ames does not. The two most prominent businesses on Main Street are the local co-op and The Open Flame Steak House (co-sponsor for the trail), neither of which are attractive final destinations for bikers. With this in mind, Ames residents should look at the path more for its recreational uses rather than as a bridge to Gilbert. Kemis still believes that the bike trail will be well used by Ames and Gilbert citizens alike, including himself. “I could go out for a midnight run between Ames and Gilbert,” Kemis said. “I’d rather be in Ames though.” Although Gilbert residents have the most to gain from the new bike trail, Ames residents can also look forward to bike rides through the countryside in the coming years.