Archived Story

Vision 2020, local government working to connect southern Minnesota trail systems

Published 8:20am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Supporters of the Shooting Star Trail’s expansion into Austin and beyond realize that such a project will take teamwork, and now that’s what they are focusing on.

County officials, committee members of Vision 2020’s Bike/Walk Trail System, the Southern Minnesota Bike Club, Prairie Visions and a Department of Natural Resources parks and trails supervisor met Monday evening to pool their resources and share ideas. A main area of focus is finding land to stretch the trail to Austin from Rose Creek, and how to cross Interstate 90 once in Austin.

County commissioner Polly Glynn said supporters want to settle all those uncertainties before finding funding for the project, which they hope would be included in next year’s bonding bill in Minnesota.

DNR parks and trails supervisor Joel Wager attended the meeting, and trail supporters want his help at the state level. Glynn said extending the trail relies on approval from the DNR and Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Vision 2020 Bike Walk Trail System chair Steve Kime has been optimistic since the meeting.

“I would call it a fantastic meeting,” Kime said. “It was very informative for me, and I think others, to really hear from the county folks.”

He added, “Things will happen; things will get done. It’s just a matter of a lot of efforts on different individual’s parts, different groups.”’

The Vision 2020 Bike/Walk committee will meet again on May 28 at the Town Center.

At a May 14 county board meeting, county officials said they plan to set the route and purchase land to finish the final seven miles of the trail from Rose Creek to Austin by this fall.

“That’ll make it easier to lobby for state funding,” County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said at that meeting.

After reaching Austin, the county board has committed to connecting the trail with Iowa’s Wapsi-Great Western Trail.

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