In 2014, the Minnesota legislature appropriated $2,165,000 for development of a trail running from the Bloomington Ferry Bridge to the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitors' Center, as part of the Minnesota Valley State Trail. The trail was originally established by legislation in 1969 to run along the Minnesota River Valley from Fort Snelling State Park to LeSueur.
What progress has been made toward trail construction?
Pre-project consultation between DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the city of Bloomington has been ongoing to ensure that trail development adheres to the values and management goals of each agency. Cultural and natural resource investigations, including a wetland delineation and archeological review, have been completed or are near completion. Preliminary engineering plans have been completed for the entire corridor between the Bloomington Ferry Bridge and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. The formal environmental review process is underway.
What will the trail look like?
The project will include both a paved trail and natural surface trails. The paved trail will be 10 feet wide, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, in order to allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the Minnesota River Valley. Much of the natural surface trail that currently exists in the project area will remain in its current location. Every effort will be made to re-establish natural surface trails that are impacted by construction of the paved trail. In certain locations, where there is not sufficient space for both trails, all users may be routed onto the paved trail. Natural surface trails will be managed by the city of Bloomington and the USFWS in coordination with DNR.
Here is a map of the conceptual trail layout.
Which segment will be built first?
Like most state trails, the Bloomington segment of the Minnesota Valley State Trail will be built in phases. The segment between Lyndale Avenue and Cedar Avenue is proposed to be the first to be constructed. Other segments will be constructed as funding allows.
When will construction take place?
The segment between Lyndale Avenue and Cedar Avenue is proposed to be built during the 2019 and 2020 construction seasons.
Will the public have the opportunity to comment on the project?
DNR hosted two open houses and a series of stakeholder meetings in spring and summer of 2018. Public Comments were collected during and after those meetings. The state level environmental review document (Minnesota Environmental Assessment Worksheet) will be open for public comment from October 15th-November 14th 2018. Please visit the Environmental Review Website for more information.