Trail Needs More Funding

More funding requested for bike/walk trail

By Rachel Kytonen
Isanti County News

In order to keep the Cambridge-Isanti Bike/Walk Trail moving forward as planned, Isanti County is going to need a little more help-as in $440,000.

A resolution supporting an appropriation of $440,000 in Federal Highway Administration funds for the bike/walk trail was approved by the Isanti County Board of Commissioners during its April 21 meeting.

Commissioner George Larson informed the board the resolution was needed due to an error in the engineering firm's project cost estimate.

Larson said the firm miscalculated the cost of the bog walk needed to go over an area of wetlands, and it's been determined an additional $440,000 is needed.

"The engineering firm didn't estimate the cost of the elevated walkway going over the wetlands, so we're coming in $440,000 short," Larson said. "Congressman Oberstar's office wants as many resolutions as he can get from all the different entities to support this additional funding request."

The city councils of Cambridge and Isanti also approved supporting the resolution requesting the $440,000 appropriation at their respective meetings this week.

These cities, as well as Isanti County and Isanti Township, have entered into a joint and cooperative agreement for the construction, operation and maintenance of the trail.

The bike/walk trail has received $835,600 from two different federal funding sources and $156,000 from the state of Minnesota to fund the engineering and construction of the trail.

Local agencies have also committed $122,677 for the trail.

Larson said after the error was recognized, there was discussion about changing engineering firms, but decided against it due to how far along the project is.

Larson said if the $440,000 doesn't come through, the engineering firm has agreed to design a preliminary alternate route that will go around the wetlands at no charge.

"The engineering firm really didn't do their homework on this one," Larson said. "Hopefully this will still come to be because we've been working 15 years on this."

Larson said the bike/walk trail committee remains hopeful the additional funding will come through.

"Congressman Oberstar isn't happy about this, but it's one of his pet projects, so hopefully the funding will come through," Larson said.

Larson said the raised bog walk is an expensive part of the project, but it is an unique part of the trail. He said construction on the trail is expected to begin spring or summer 2010.

The bike/walk trail will be the first non-motorized connection between Cambridge and Isanti providing an alternative form of transportation for local school children, the local workforce, and provide recreational and wellness opportunities for all residents.

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