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What do the cities of St. Joseph, Albany, Avon, Holdingford and St. Cloud have that residents in Cold Spring, Richmond and Rockville wish they had? The answer is recreational trails. The wishes of our community residents will soon become a reality as our leaders take action to make this wish a come true.
The Rocori Trail Committee will be holding an informational public meeting on Wednesday, January 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Rocori High School Cafeteria to discuss the trail project. The meeting will begin with an overview presentation from the project engineer. There will be a panel of representatives from local agencies that have been involved in this project or similar projects, who will be available to share their experiences or answer specific questions related to their field of expertise. The panelists include representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Stearns County Parks Department, National Parks Service, and other agencies. These experts will be available to answer questions and address concerns from audience members. After the panel discussion, attendees will have the chance to visit individual organization’s display tables for more information and handouts. Refreshments will be available at the meeting.
The proposed Rocori Trail would span a total length of 12.2 miles, starting at the east side of Richmond and ending near Stearns County Road 6 in Rockville. The trail would be constructed in two phases with the first covering from Richmond to Cold Spring and the second continuing from the eastern end of Cold Spring to Rockville. Construction of the trail is scheduled to begin in 2010 with the $526,964 federal grant received from the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
Through the many discussions about the proposed trail, there have been two possible routes identified for the trail to follow. Although the committee has been working towards determining the best route, neither route has been finalized. The first route would have the trail located on the right-of-way for the railway that connects the three communities. The second proposed route would use mostly public right-of-ways, and would likely be located at the edge of the right-of-way in the road ditches. The committee is particularity interested in giving potentially affected property owners the opportunity to provide feedback on these two proposed routes.
The Rocori Trail has the potential to not only provide access to one trail, but a whole system of trails in central Minnesota. The Rocori Trail could connect with the Glacial Lakes State Trail which extends all the way from Willmar to the eastern edge of Richmond. There is also the potential for an extension to be made to the east of the Rocori Trail, which could connect with Quarry Park, and through the City of St. Cloud to the Beaver Island Trail. Eventually, the Rocori Trail could even connect to the Lake Wobegon Trail in St. Joseph.
The cost to complete the entire trail is quite substantial, but effort continues to find grants to assist in funding. Each City Council of the three cities of Richmond, Rockville and Cold Spring have passed resolutions in support of the Rocori Trail Project and have pledged to contribute a local match of $32,000. These costs are committed on the condition that grant funding is secured to fund the balance of the project costs. The committee hopes to be awarded grants through the federal government and the State of Minnesota. In addition to these funds, area cities hope that successful community fundraising efforts will reduce the cost to local governments even further.
The Rocori Trail group meets monthly to continue their efforts in organizing and planning for the trail. The group welcomes new members to participate in the meetings or attend to just learn more about the project. Minutes from these meetings are posted on the City of Cold Spring website at www.coldspring.govoffice.com, along with comments that were received at the last open house. In addition, a list of frequently asked questions are also posted on the website for people to familiarize themselves with the background of the project. See ROCORI Trail Website Info
Attending this open house will keep you informed on the progress of this area community project. Just as importantly, it will give citizens an opportunity to ask questions and share opinions they might have about the Rocori Trail project. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about what exciting changes are coming to your community in the future by attending this meeting.