Anoka looking for help to finish last piece of the trail

The city of Anoka is applying for grant money to complete a trail connection along the Rum River.

by Mandy Moran Froemming
Union Editor

The city of Anoka is applying for grant money to complete a trail connection along the Rum River.

Currently, the last part of the trail to be connected is a stretch near the new Northstar Station, between Highway 10 and Grant Street. Completing this connection will create a continuous trail that runs from the trail head at the boat ramp in Akin Riverside Park, through the heart of city all the way to the Anoka High School, following the Rum River.

The city is applying for a Metropolitan Livable Communities Demonstration Account grant, a chance for funding to cover either all, or part, of the trail construction, explained Planning Director Carolyn Braun.

The grant application includes two options for trail connections. Both were presented to the Anoka City Council earlier this month.

The funding request for Route B, a scenic route that follows the river, is $651,281.

According to Braun, this is the preferred route for the trail. It would run along the Rum River behind the Old Milk Factory, under Pleasant Street, under the railroad and connects with the trail on the west side of the stormwater pond.

She explained that the cost is high because of those underground connections, but it is the preferred route because of added safety for bikers and pedestrians. If awarded, the grant would cover all of the trail construction costs.

Braun also told the council the city would have to acquire easements from private property owners in order to construct the trail along the more scenic, river route.

Route A is a more direct connection along Fourth Avenue and runs across the railroad tracks. This option would cost $181,300 with only $71,300 eligible through grant funding, according to the staff report.

The city would also be required to cover the cost of pedestrian signal improvements that would be needed at the railroad tracks for Route A.

Grants are scheduled to be awarded in December of 2010. Completion of the project must occur within two years of the award of the grant.

If the grant is not approved, the city’s five-year capital improvement plan includes a funding request to complete the project.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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