by Dennis Dalman
On a vote of 4-0, a compromise of sorts for fixing hiking-biking trails in Sartell was agreed to by the Sartell City Council at its July 23 meeting.
The trails to be repaired are located along 2-1/2 Street, in the Regional Medical Arts campus and near Grizzly Lane in the Wilds neighborhood. The total cost is estimated at about $45,000. If all the trails were to be fixed to the maximum, the cost would be close to twice that amount.
Mayor Joe Perske voted against the proposal because he thinks one part of a trail near Grizzly Lane should remain in its current condition rather than be removed. That, he said, would save the city some of the cost and allow residents to still walk on the trail, even though it’s not in good condition.
The council had discussed the trails issue at previous meetings and referred it back to the Park Commission and city staff for further study and clarification. Residents near the trails in the Wilds were also consulted. They agreed that part of a trail there should be abandoned, which the compromise plan calls for.
A big cause of the trails’ deterioration are willow roots growing in moist areas next to ponds. The fast-growing willows, virtual weeds, get under the trails and crack and split their bituminous or gravel surfaces. One aspect of the trail-repair plan is to use a product called Bio-Guard that would retard willow roots and compel them to grow away from the trails.
The 360-foot trail at the Regional Medical Arts campus will be repaired, and part of that trail, as a kind of long-term test project, will be constructed using concrete rather than bituminous to see how well the concrete holds up over time.
The agreement also calls for fixing a 100-foot portion of the well-used trail along 2-1/2 Street.
As it did at previous meetings, the council spent most of its time discussing options for the trails in the Wilds neighborhood, those near Grizzly Lane. Currently, there is a trail to the north of Grizzly Lane that is an approximate figure-9 shape around two ponds there. Neighbors agreed the west side of the trail, badly damaged by roots, could be abandoned. The city engineer and his staff came up with the option of putting in a new bituminous trail on the east of the ponds, about 60 feet further east than the current damaged trail. The abandoned portion of the trail to the west will then be removed and grass will be allowed to fill in where the trail was.
There is another trail to the south of Grizzly Lane, about 900-feet long, that does not receive much use, according to the city engineer. The plan calls for using gravel rather than bituminous on that smaller trail. The area will also be sprayed to retard willow growth.
The trail repairs will be done this summer.