Trail project gets Legacy funding

DNR to use funds for Brown’s Creek trail span

Minn. DNR logoThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will use Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy amendment funds provided by the legislature to complete the Brown’s Creek State Trail, according to a DNR official.

DNR Official Kent Skaar said funds needed for completion of the trail would be in excess of $500,000 and could approach $1 million and provided the balance necessary to move forward on the project. The bridge over Manning Avenue itself is slated to cost $1.5 million. There are currently discussions about how the steel should look for the bridge.

“We were thrilled to get the funds and it helps us move the timetable for the trail up. And we’ll get connected sooner rather than later into the Gateway Trail,” said DNR parks and trails area supervisor Rachel Hintzman.

“We were a little short in funding to complete the last six miles as a whole, and it was wonderful to get the funding that we needed.” Skaar added.

Brown’s Creek trail development started last fall when railroad tracks and ties from the old Zephyr train line were removed. Trail construction continues this spring and summer as two bridges on the eastern half of the trail are redeveloped. One of the bridges, on the north side of Oak Glen Golf Course, will be rebuilt and will take trail users across Brown’s Creek. The other bridge, which crosses Manning Avenue north of downtown Stillwater, will be repaired and rehabilitated to accommodate trail use.

The Manning Avenue bridge is nearing the end of the design and Skaar said a contract would be let in the fall.

“We’re just finishing up the plan for the bridge in the next month or two, and people will probably see work out there in the fall, and we anticipate the completion of the bridge by next spring.” Hintzman said.

Timing of when the Brown’s Creek Trail will be completed and opened to the public is still being discussed according to Hintzman.

“We’re still working through that process. We’re in discussions with our project partners to determine the rest of the timing of the trail development but we’re moving ahead,” Hintzman said.

The Brown’s Creek trail will connect the Gateway State Trail to downtown Stillwater and the St. Croix River.

“The trail is still closed because it will be in an active construction zone and it’s not safe. But if people can just hold off from using it a little longer, it’s going to be fantastic,” Hintzman said.

“The trail has a huge economic impact in bringing the bikers to town,” said Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki. “It’ll be nice to have the trail all in one piece with the new bridge (St. Croix River Bridge) getting traffic out of downtown and bringing 50,000 to 70,000 bicyclists into town as tourists will be great.”