Funding just 10 percent short in contributions for actual bid
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN - Falling just short of the financial goal, the bike path has been temporarily put on hold until next spring or later until more money can be raised for the project.
Actual bids came in between $98,000 to $108,000, or just $10,000 shy of the engineer’s estimate for the resurfacing of four miles of the five-mile bike path between Dassel and Cokato.
The lowest bid was also $15,000 more than what has been contributed thus far.
Three years ago, Karl Townsend noticed the bike path degrading and began laying the groundwork for funding of the project. His goal being to get each of the five entities who signed the original maintenance agreement when the project began 15 years ago.
Those entities were the two cities, the school district, and Cokato and Dassel townships, where 90 percent of the path lies within.
In March, an official bike path committee was formed that consisted of representatives from the five entities.
They are Supt. Jeff Powers from DC Schools, Karl Townsend of Dassel Township, Dean Mahlstedt of Cokato Township, Dassel Mayor Mike Scanlon, and Cokato City Administrator Don Levens. Kevin Dahlman, DC school board chair; and Cokato Mayor Bruce Johnson were also involved with the committee.
To get the path paid for and completed, Townsend talked with each of the entities, asking them if they would be willing to contribute to equal shares of $20,000 each.
Both the cities and the school district were on board along with Dassel Township. Collinwood Township also supported the project, giving a $5,000 contribution despite none of the path being in its jurisdiction.
Cokato Township could not contribute to the project stating its budget had been set to the end of 2010, according to Dean Mahlstedt.
“We’re locked in,” he commented in regards to the budget.
According to Townsend, the goal is to get all five of the entities on board and create a joint powers agreement for the ongoing maintenance of the path.
By waiting until spring, Townsend fears the cost of petroleum will go up, increasing the cost of the project even more.
In the meantime, the committee plans to step up its fundraising efforts.
“It’s a tremendous asset to our community,” Townsend said, adding he would hate to see the path fall beyond repair.
Donations for the bike path
Donations to the project can be dropped off at the DC School District office or made to PO Box 1700, Cokato, MN 55321. Checks can be made out to ISD 466, memo: bike path donation.