Board readies for trail funds

Published 10:27 am Friday, December 12, 2014

Mower County should soon have the funds to extend the Shooting Star Trail from Rose Creek to Austin.

The question now is whether it will be enough money to get the trail to Austin.

The county board approved a motion that will allow the county to accept roughly $2.15 million — about $500,000 for a bridge near Rose Creek and about $1.6 million for the trail — approved earlier this year as part of the state bonding bill to extend the trail from Rose Creek to Austin.

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However, the county previously estimated it would cost about $2.5 million to complete that stretch.

“I’m hoping we get as much done as we can,” Public Works Director Mike Hanson told the board Thursday, noting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources indicated there may be some additional funds available if needed.

The county board however requested the state change some wording in the agreement so the county could cancel it if the project would come in above the estimated costs. Commissioners indicated the board likely would not want to pitch in local tax dollars if the project came in at a high cost above the available state funds.

“If we do not have the money to build something, we’re not going to build it,” Hanson said.

If the project came in over bid, Hanson said the county and state could work together to find more money.

Once completed, the trail will run north from Rose Creek along State Highway 56 before jutting west as a bike lane on County Road 58 and then turning north on 28th Street to connect to Austin near the Austin Country Club.