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City reaches mountain bike trail agreement; Council to vote on arrangement to allow public use

The City Council will vote on an agreement between the city of Austin, Hormel Foods, and the Southern Minnesota Bicycling Club concerning a mountain bike trail easement donation during its next regular meeting on Monday.

The Park Board approved the agreement during its Dec. 6 meeting.

Under the agreement, Hormel Foods will make an easement donation on private property it owns near Todd Park to the city of Austin to “use as an unpaved recreational mountain bike trail that is approximately 18-24 inches wide.” The trail will be designated for public use.

The Southern Minnesota Bicycling Club, with permission from Hormel Foods, established the trail in 2015 for use by the SMBC and the Austin Cycling Team. Only members of the SMBC and ACT have authorization to use it. Under the agreement, the SMBC and ACT will still have authorization to hold competitive events at the site, at which points it would be closed to the public. The ACT will also be able to conduct training and practice activities on the trail.

The agreement grants Hormel Foods immunity from any liability associated with the trail and waives all obligations on the part of Hormel Foods to provide any maintenance, security or emergency services.

The city and the SMBC will be responsible for the maintenance of the trail under the agreement. Any work done by volunteers from the SMBC must be coordinated through the City. The SMBC must also obtain liability waivers for any volunteers conducting maintenance on the trail as well as proper insurance for should they decide to extend, change or re-build the current trail outside of routine maintenance.

The city will also be responsible for the general safety of the trail, including signage, gates or barriers addressing public safety concerns.

A possible opening date for the trail has yet to be determined.