by Nathan Warner
A Sherburne County study to connect Sugarbush Preserve with the Great Northern Trail will be the topic of an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 20 at Livonia Town Hall.
Hoisington Koegler Group Inc., a private consulting firm, and the Livonia Township Park Board plan to host the open house to present various proposals for new trails that will provide a critical link between Sugarbush Preserve and the Great Northern Trail.
“I’m hopeful people who have questions about our trail feasibility study and those who are supportive of the planned trail connection will attend,” Gary Doebler, Livonia Township supervisor and Park Board chair, said about the open house.
Sugarbush Preserve is located on 239th Avenue between Highway 169 and County Road 1 just north of Elk River’s city limits and is about a mile from the Great Northern Trail, which runs parallel to Highway 169. Doebler says the proposal is similar to the trails connecting the Great Northern Trail to Woodland Trails Park in Elk River.
The information at the open house will include maps and aerial photographs of the proposed trail options.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re directly involved or simply interested in the township’s parks and trails,” Doebler said. “Everyone is welcome.”
The proposed trails would cross private land, so input is necessary before any plans move ahead. Doebler assures residents that the township will not exercise eminent domain, no matter what the outcome of the open house.
The research to connect Sugarbush Preserve and the Great Northern Trail is paid for by a grant from the Statewide Health Improvement Program, which pays for studies to improve outdoor recreational opportunities.
If the study moves forward, the Livonia Township Park Board will pursue a grant to construct the trails from other state funding. Doebler is hopeful the study will progress to the next level.
“Our goal is to keep costs low for taxpayers,” he said. “With these grants, little or no taxes come from the township for the proposed improvements in the study and the community gets a great addition to its park system.”
The Livonia Town Hall in Zimmerman is located at 11162 265th Ave. Call 763-856-5640 for more information.