by Eric Oslund
On April 1, the Star Tribune’s Eric Roper reported of a proposed regional trail that would follow the Crow River for 32 miles, connecting the cities of Dayton, Delano, Greenfield, Hanover, Independence, Minnetrista, Otsego, Rockford, Rogers and Watertown.
Even into August, plans for this trail are still in early stages of development, but it was reported that the full project is expected to cost about $37 million, “with costs roughly split between Three Rivers and Wright County.”
“It appeared, from especially the council’s standpoint, I think everybody was pretty excited to have a trail system that would connect Otsego, potentially, all the way down to Delano,” said Otsego Parks and Recreation Director Ross Demant. “(Plans call for) a trail system connecting the entire city, and especially the south park of the city, to Rogers – crossing over the Crow River. The concept, at least at this point, has a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the Crow connecting Rogers and Otsego.”
The trail is expected to run through the southern tier of Otsego, right off County Road 36. The city has been working on continuing to develop that little southern peninsula that juts out, and believes this trail will only aid in the process.
There will need to be some minor park development taking place when the trail does begin to be developed as it will be a 10-foot wide paved surface, and there is also expected to be a pedestrian bridge connecting Otsego to Rogers.
Despite the work that goes into it, though, Demant believes it will be beneficial for the city. Not only will it help residents be more active, but it will also draw new faces into town.
“I think these regional trail systems have really shown a huge benefit to increasing flow of traffic, and getting people accessing different cities and amenities without jumping in a car,” he said.
The Otsego Parks and Recreation department representatives said that the sooner this project gets started the better, but they have heard that it could potentially be 10 years down the road before any construction takes place. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered surrounding this, and one of the most important is who will be responsible for maintaining the trail system.
“That’s a good question,” Demant said. “That’s something, as this progresses, that would be nailed down a little better. I know that was a question both staff and the council had, and as we progress, that’s something that would be identified before moving forward.”