Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Traci LeBrun
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Pine County seeks state funding for phase one of Oberstar Trail


Pine County Auditor/Treasurer Kelly Schroeder requested permission at last week’s county board meeting to request funding in the state’s 2020 capital budget for phase one of the Oberstar Trail, a bike trail which would provide the missing link of bike trail connecting the Twin Cities with the Twin Ports.

Schroeder said that if the trail will ever get done, the county may have to be proactive. “We’ve talked for several years and have now had some traction in planning (a trail location),” said Schroeder to county commissioners on Tuesday, June 4, at the Pine County Courthouse. “But it’s become very clear that the DNR has trouble keeping up with the trails they have and are not interested in creating more trails. Mark [LeBrun] has done great with aligning the trail with county roads, but we need to request funding for the southern segment for now.”

The first phase of the trail would run from Cross Lake Preserve, in Pine City, up the Snake River Bridge along the east side of County Road 9, said Schroeder. She added they are hopeful that there will be two additional phases from the Snake River Bridge along County Road 9 up to County Road 67 (Phase 2) and then County Road 67 and join back up with 61 (Phase 3).

The county is requesting about $1 million in construction costs. “There is a match to the grant, so if we can get some state funding it would be less local dollars,” said Schroeder. County Engineer Mark LeBrun said that the cost of paving doubles, as compared to road paving, because of the smaller equipment needed.

The state’s capital budget is state bonding money that the legislature will be dividing amongst projects across the state during next year’s legislative session. Schroeder said they will submit their request this month, but the state receives more requests biannually than it can grant. However, the county is hopeful it will be granted as it is a statutorily approved trail, and the state has already spent funds on a master plan for the trail. Once the request for funding is submitted, the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget will review requests and conduct site visits as needed, and if approved, will be submitted to the legislature in January.


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