New Richmond council supports trail proposalIf the city receives a $103,000 state grant, a new trail linking New Richmond’s pathway system from the south to the north will become a reality.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
If the city receives a $103,000 state grant, a new trail linking New Richmond’s pathway system from the south to the north will become a reality.
With the New Richmond City Council’s approval Monday night of up to $53,000 for a new, 1,800-foot paved trail along the Willow River, the stage is set for a great new addition to the community’s amenities, said Parks and Recreation Director Joe Kerlin.
“It’s a great community project,” he told the council.
The trail is made possible because of the pending donation of five-plus acres of land by Bill and Gail Buell, owners of Domain Inc. The property, which sits to the north of the dam at the downtown millpond, follows the Willow River to the northwest.
“We’re lucky Bill is willing to donate this land,” Council member Jim Zajkowski said. “These opportunities only come up every so often.”
Kerlin said the major expenses associated with the trail are the pavement (about $90,000), a six-foot-tall fence ($18,000, which would provide security for the grain elevator) and lighting ($17,000, which would allow the trail to be used in the evening hours).
Apart from the actual trail, the project will also provide a canoe landing along the Willow River, viewing areas along the pathway and picnic areas as well.
Kerlin said the city has a “very good chance” of receiving the grant funding for the project, based on the supportive words offered by Department of Natural Resources officials.
If the grant becomes a reality, the project would be scheduled for completion in the spring and summer of 2013.
Kerlin said the city’s portion of the project would total about $53,000, but city employees would likely be able to complete some of the work themselves to bring the overall cost down. He estimated that the total potential financial commitment could be in the neighborhood of $36,000.
Mayor Fred Horne suggested that local organizations be approached to support the trail project, saving the city taxpayers more of the costs.
City Administrator Mike Darrow said, if the grant is approved, the city would also look at other ways to cut costs and raise revenue for the project.
The council voted 6-0 in favor of committing up to $53,000 to the trail.
One of the conditions of the new Buell trail was that the pathway be part of a complete north-south route through the community.
The council unanimously approved the establishment of a bike route from the northern end of the Rail Bridge Trail (West Sixth Street) to West First Street. Another bike route from High Street to Hatfield Lane was also officially established.
City Engineer and Street Superintendent Dan Koski said a “bike route” allows bicycles and vehicles to share the roadways. There will be lines painted along the road and signs posted, but Koski noted that motorists would still be allowed to park along the route.
He did add, however, that at some time in the future the city could consider creating an actual bicycle trail along that established route.
In other park news, Horne said the city has received one suggested new name for Hatfield Lake Regional Park – Freedom Park.
He said the idea for the name came from the park’s close proximity to the American Legion and the New Richmond National Guard armory.
“We thought it would be a nice tribute to those organizations,” Horne said.
The fact that National Guard troops helped to excavate a large portion of the developing park last summer also played into the suggested name, Horne added.
The city is considering a new name for Hatfield Lake Regional Park and Hatfield Park because people often get confused which park is which. To clear up the confusion, city officials suggested that the parks perhaps be named West and East Hatfield Park.
The most recent park name suggestion has surfaced over the past month.