By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Members of Lester Prairie’s trail committee attended Tuesday’s city council meeting seeking council approval to begin fundraising for the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.
The goal of the first phase of the project is to establish 4,400 feet of packed and leveled gravel trail from McLeod County Road 9 to the first road approach in McLeod County (near the Carver County border).
The committee’s goal is to raise $20,000 in donations to provide a safe trail for community enjoyment and to bring trail users to the city.
The committee received two quotes, the lower of which was for $16,800 from Litzau Excavating in Lester Prairie to prepare an 8-foot-wide gravel trail.
The council approved the quote, subject to the funds being raised to complete the work.
The committee will be sending letters to businesses, organizations, and possibly individuals requesting support for the project.
A donation of $100 will pay for 26 feet of trail preparation, according to the letter.
The fundraising effort already has a start.
Last week, Chris Schultz of the McLeod County Rail Authority handed a $3,000 check to committee member Mary Behrens.
The rail authority has had the funds since a public meeting was conducted in Lester Prairie Oct. 11, 2012, during which the Jilek family donated $2,000 toward development of the trail, and Ed Mlynar donated $1,000.
Also during that meeting, the Lester Prairie City Council voted unanimously to contribute $4,826 in park reserve funds to extend the trail to Lester Prairie.
Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible donation toward the trail may make a check payable to the City of Lester Prairie, clearly indicating “Trail” in the memo portion of the check.
Checks can be mailed to 37 Juniper Street North, PO Box 66, Lester Prairie, MN 55354.
Checks can also be dropped off at the city office, or dropped in the city hall drop box after business hours.
Although Phase 1 of the project will develop a gravel surface which will make the trail usable, the committee’s ultimate goal is to have the trail paved to match the portion of the trail from Carver County to the east.
The first step, Behrens said, is to get the trail designated as a regional trail.
This is a new requirement in order to apply for legacy funding.
If the regional designation is awarded, the goal is to apply for a Parks and Trails Legacy Grant in August.
For more information, contact any Lester Prairie Trail Committee member. They are:
• Mary Behrens
• Larry Burandt
• Gordon Houk
• Craig Heimerl
• Dave Klitzke
• Kelli Machemehl
• Mary Ann Teubert
• Jen Thiry