by Cori Hilsgen
At the request of Mayor Rick Schultz, Stearns County Parks Director Peter Theismann updated St. Joseph City Council members on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail at the Feb. 6 council meeting.
Theismann said Stearns County was awarded a $1-million Legacy grant toward the extension of the trail from St. Joseph to the Waite Park River’s Edge Park. The trail extension would connect the trail to the St. Cloud area.
Theismann said the Legacy grant funds would be enough to acquire the land, but it would not get the construction done. He said an estimated $2.6 million is needed for the project.
Theismann is making appeals for the additional money. He said the St. Joseph Township Board has promised $10,000 and an individual citizen has offered $5,000 of her own money.
Theismann showed an example of a rail-with-trail option. He said there are at least 100 rail-with-trail projects in the United States. The rail-with-trails are adjacent to active railroad corridors and usually have some type of fencing between the pathway and the railway.
The proposed trail would be a 10-foot-wide trail between the railroad tracks and the county road.
Theismann reminded council members the Albany Jaycees started the Wobegon Trail. He is asking people to think about possible funding options.