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|Paynesville Press - August 9, 2006|
Trail continuing to make progress around lake
In the next couple months, two new sections of the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail should be built.|
Additionally, another $430,000 in federal funding has been secured to continue the trail along the south shore of Lake Koronis. Along with a commitment by the city of Paynes-ville, Paynesville Township, and Meeker and Stearns counties, this latest development is bringing the completion of the trail into focus.
We're "really on the brink of completing this within a ten-year period," said Jeff Bertram, a city council member and paid consultant for the trail.
Bids will be opened on building the trail section from the city to the city beach on Monday, Aug. 21. Construction should be begin in mid-September and be done by mid-October. "I can't wait," said Bertram, whose family walks and wants to use the trail to go from their house in the city to Veteran's Memorial Park on Lake Koronis.
The section from the city to the Glacial Lakes State Trail is a couple weeks behind but also should be bid and completed this fall.
The city of Paynesville, Paynesville Township, and Meeker and Stearns counties have each pledged $80,000 to extend the trail around the west end of Koronis and along the south shore next year. Meeker County also will provide the engineering of this section of the trail, said Bertram, which is worth $20,000 to $35,000.
The federal grant - from the District 8 Area Transportation Partnership, to which Meeker County belongs - will continue the trail along the south side of the lake all the way to the public landing by the five-mile bridge in 2010, said Bertram.
By 2010, the trail should be completed except for short section from the public landing by the five-mile bridge to Old Lake Road and from Crestridge Road back to Cherrywood Road.
Keys to the project, said Bertram, have been joint city/township support, foresight to hire a paid consultant to secure grants and outside funding, and for the township to embark on two trail projects without outside help (along Old Lake Road and along Crestridge Road and NW Koronis Road).
The project started with a township road project along Old Lake Road, with designated trails on both sides of the road, completed in 2001 and opened in 2002. Then, when the township did the road project along Crestridge, NW Koronis, and Breezewood roads in 2003, residents got to see how the trail would like with separation from the road, said Bertram.
All the landowners who have allowed easements for the trail should be thanked, said Bertram. The trail should be completed without paying for any easements, he added. Paying for easements would have doubled the costs and slowed the project significantly, he said.
The Lake Koronis Recreational Trail is now slated to receive over $1.25 million in grants and outside aid: $266,000 in a federal grant to build the trail from the city to the city beach on Lake Koronis (to be constructed this summer); $365,000 in bonding money to connect the city with the Glacial Lakes State Trail (also to be constructed this year); $160,000 from Meeker and Stearns counties to continue the trail around the west end of Lake Koronis and along the south side (to be built in 2007); and $430,000 in a federal grant to continue the trail along the south side, bringing it to the five-mile bridge (recently designated for 2010).
In addition, $1.5 million has been allocated in the last two bonding bills to improve the Glacial Lakes State Trail from New London to Paynesville.
When finished, the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail will circle the lake and connect to the Glacial Lakes State Trail. With biking available around the lake and towards Willmar and St. Cloud, Paynesville will be in a perfect position, according to Bertram.
"What a great mid-spot for bike enthusiasts to come to Paynesville and stay in Paynesville and make two day trips to Willmar and St. Cloud (on the Glacial Lakes State Trail)," said Bertram. Another day could be spent biking around Lake Koronis on the trail.
The Joint Powers Board for the trail includes: Harlan Beek, new city administrator Renee Eckerly, and public works director Ron Mergen representing the city; Mike Jensen, Don Pietsch, and Don Wiese, representing the township; and Bertram as an at-large member.
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