Shooting Star gets $456K to expand trail

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A sign marks the trail head of the Shooting Star State Trail in Taopi. Thanks to an agreement with the DNR the project has taken one step closer to completion. - Herald file photo

The Shooting Star Trail is inching closer to Rose Creek and, eventually, Austin.

On Tuesday, the Mower County Board of Commissioners accepted $456,000 in cost share dollars from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to advance the project.

“It’s not rideable yet, but it’s ready for future work,” County Engineer Mike Hanson said.

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The Shooting Star Trail currently includes 15 miles of paved trail from LeRoy to Adams. The path from Adams to Rose Creek is not yet paved, but all the necessary prep and bridge work was completed last summer. The board made final payment to Hanson Hauling and Excavating for about $9,800 for that work.

Hanson said the DNR gave the Shooting Star Trail funding because the project is ready for construction.

The county and DNR are still discussing the best use of the dollars.

“We’re going to try to maximize the use of those funds,” Hanson said.

The Rose Creek City Council has determined a route for the trail to go through the city. With the trail nearing Rose Creek, discussions are set to pick up about a route for the trail to reach Austin.

The plan is to eventually connect the Shooting Star Trail with the Blazing Star Trail in Albert Lea and with other trails across the state and into Iowa.

That’s likely years away. In fact, it hasn’t been easy to get to Rose Creek.

“It’s taken quite a while to get this far,” Hanson said.

Gerald Meier, who’s worked with Prairie Visions to promote the trail, said it’s been worth the wait.

“We think it’s a great thing, and we’ve been working at it for a long, long time,” he said. “Sometimes it seems like forever.”

Commissioner Ray Tucker said the trail wouldn’t be near as far without the work of Prairie Visions.

“The board appreciates the Shooting Star Trail and all the work you guys have done,” Tucker said.