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Paynesville Press - March 10, 2004

Federal funding for trail takes another step

By Michael Jacobson

Federal funding for the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail recently cleared another hurdle, gaining approval from a regional policy board on Friday, Feb. 20.

Earlier in February, the local project was recommended by the district technical advisory committee.

All that remains for the local trail to receive a T-21 federal grant is approval at the subregion level, approval at the state level, and approval at the federal level. Usually, these decision-making bodies respect the priorities as decided on the regional level, said Steve Vos, planning director for MnDOT District 3, as long as the project meets federal guidelines.

The real competition for the federal grant money is at the regional level, according to Vos. The Lake Koronis Recreational Trail competed in a region that included Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties. Vos said the region had $3.1 million in federal funds to spend and around $12 million in project requests.

The Lake Koronis Recreational Trail was the only trail project picked for federal funding this time. An estimated $326,486 is needed to connect the city of Paynesville to the city beach. Of that, a federal grant would cover 80 percent, or $261,189. The local match would be 20 percent, or $65,297.

Vos said the subregion recommendation on the federal grants is due in April 2004, state approval is expected by July 2004, and federal approval is due by October 2004.

The federal funds would not be available until July 2006.

The Lake Koronis Recreational Trail would start on the south side of Highway 55, running on school property along Burr Street, then heading cross country to the Paynesville Township Hall, which would be a starting/stopping point with parking and a possible picnic and bathroom stop, before heading cross country again to link with the trail along Old Lake Road and to Veteran's Memorial Park.

The trail - whose goal is to eventually circle Lake Koronis with links to the city of Paynesville and to the Glacial Lakes State Trail north of town - has two sections complete, along Old Lake Road and along Crestridge, NW Koronis, and Breezewood roads in Paynesville Township. These sections of the trail were done in conjunction with recent township road projects.

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