ST. PETER — With the support from the cities of St. Peter, Mankato and North Mankato as well as Nicollet, Le Sueur and Blue Earth counties, a bonding request will go before the Minnesota State Legislature requesting $400,000 in planning funds to study a possible Minnesota River Trail between Mankato/North Mankato and St. Peter.
According to a memo to the St. Peter City Council from St. Peter Community Development Director Russ Wille, the request would be made, through State Representative Terry Morrow’s office, to access $400,000 in state bonding funds to plan and design a trail connection to St. Peter. The purpose the study would be to determine the most appropriate route for the new trail.
Previously completed studies have mainly focused on a route along Highway 169 and the Minnesota River. However, a route traversing the Kasota Prairie on the east side of the river was identified in the early 1990s by a Gustavus geography student seeking a route utilizing public lands and former railroad corridors.
The cities and counties, who are behind this latest push to get the trail approved, have agreed the study would be undertaken to review the benefits, challenges and opportunities of the multiple routes.
If the funding request is approved, the study would also serve as the basis for a future bonding request to fund the construction of the trail. In lieu of the bonding request, it may be determined to submit a request to access the Legacy grant fund to complete the project.
Minnesota law provides $3.9 million the first year and $4.9 million the second year to fund the construction of parks and trails determined to have a regional or statewide significance.
Previous state law also established a plan to eventually build a trail which would run the entire span of the Minnesota River from Big Stone Lake Park, near the source of the river in west central Minnesota all the way to Fort Snelling State Park in the Twin Cities.
The trail linking St. Peter and Mankato/North Mankato would fit within the scope of that work.
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