By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Though the last grant application was unsuccessful, members of the DC Regional Trail board are not giving up.
Mayor Mike Scanlon, the trail board chair, reported to members of the Dassel City Council last week that there are still opportunities for grant funding through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Regional Trail Grant Program and the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program.
As reported at the January DC Trail Board meeting, the Legacy grant the board had most recently applied for was unsuccessful.
To understand why the trail grant had been rejected, Scanlon, along with Cokato City Administrator Don Levens and engineer Eric Lembke, met with DNR officials in St. Paul recently.
One of the main reasons the grant was rejected was because the plans didn’t include a width expansion.
The trail is 8 feet wide, the standard at the time it was built. The current standard is 10 feet wide.
This allows for two-way traffic and therefore, eliminates any safety issues, according to Levens.
They were also other recommendations given for modifying the application that would make it more competitive in the next submission.
Expanding the width of the trail will add roughly $150,000 to the total cost of the project, which was originally estimated at $225,000.
It was suggested that the project be completed in phases. The first phase would be from Cokato city limits to the high school/middle school campus. The second phase would be completed from the high school/middle school to Dassel.
These phases would coincide with two grant opportunities. The first phase grant would be through the DNR Regional Trail Board, application due March 31, and the second through the Legacy Grant Program, application due at the end of October.
If the first grant is awarded, construction could be completed this summer, according to Levens.
“We’re looking for ways to make the project fundable and get the project done,” Levens said, explaining that the longer it takes, the higher the cost of materials rises.
The next DC Regional Trail board meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. at Cokato City Hall. The public is welcome.