DYERSVILLE, Iowa — A coalition of local business owners and residents are working on gathering signatures to petition the Dyersville City Council to open up a route for ATV and UTV usage.

With a lot of local businesses, especially those in the service industry, still hurting from the mandated shutdowns and restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dubuque County ATV/UTV Alliance believes allowing all-terrain and utility vehicle could help boost both traffic and revenue.

During a recent meeting, a member of the North East Action Trail Riders Club said he put 117 miles on his side-by-side the previous weekend, driving from Sherrill to Luxemburg to New Vienna, around Dyersville, and then to Worthington and Cascade before heading back up to Farley and heading back home.

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The group stressed that the key phrase in describing that journey was that he had to drive around Dyersville.

Over the past couple of years, several neighboring communities have opened their streets to alternative transportation with restrictions, as has Dubuque County, and now some residents are feeling that Dyersville is being left behind.

Dyersville residents also expressed frustration that if they wanted to use their ATVs in neighboring communities, they have to load them on a trailer to do so.

Since Dubuque County opened roads to ATV traffic, the group said both citations and incidents have been minimal.

According to meeting notes provided to the Dyersville Commercial, Dyersville City Council Member Mike Oberbroeckling was in attendance and said that while he is not opposed to the idea, he believes some of his colleagues are.

Several months ago, council members had an impromptu discussion during which it was more or less decided the council wasn’t ready to make the issue a priority or take a stance.

Mayor Jim Heavens, who was interviewed before the meeting and before word that a petition was circulating, said his understanding from previous discussions with the council was that Dyersville wanted to be a late adopter by design if they decided to allow ATV usage.

Heavens said he believed the council wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to see what, if any, ramifications occurred in communities that opened up their roads before deciding on their own.

Previous discussions also raised the point that neighboring communities don’t have the amount of out-of-town tourist traffic that Dyersville has, which could present a different set of challenges.