by Dennis Dalman
At long last, an extensive bike-trails plan is taking shape for Sartell’s Sauk River Regional Park, and construction might begin as early as this fall.
The trail system will involve a paved trail from the park’s parking lot to a swimming beach at the Sauk River, as well as many other interconnected trails designed for various skill levels of bikers – beginner, intermediate, advanced. It is estimated to cost about $500,000, of which $452,000 would be grant money already secured.
Sartell City Engineer Jon Halter presented a detailed overview of the plan at the city council’s last meeting. About eight years ago, Sartell received approximately $1 million in grant-funding, some of which was used to construct a parking lot at Sauk River Regional Park, a large tract of wooded land east of the diamond interchange at Highway 15 and CR 120. Halter noted about $500,000 of that money was used to build a trail along CR 1. There is still $452,000 left from a Department of Resources Legacy Grant to Sartell. Last summer, the city council considered a huge “laundry list” of proposed ideas for Sauk River Regional Park improvements, and of all those ideas a bike-trail system seemed to find the most favorable responses.
Since then, the city contracted with a bike-design company of Madison, Wisconsin, known as IMBA, to do design work for the trail system. Meantime, the city’s engineering firm of Short Elliot Hendrickson is also working on plans for the paved-trail portion of the trail system.
The park, half of which is in St. Cloud, is divided by the meandering Sauk River – thus its name.
Plans from the IMBA design company will be presented to the council within the next month or two, Halter noted.
Bids would be advertised this summer, and construction of the trail system could begin this fall, with completion anticipated by spring of 2022.