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Letter: An expensive trail proposal

Kandiyohi County Public Works has proposed several options for developing a separate pedestrian/biking trail along the east side of Eagle Lake. The most-discussed option is estimated to cost $520,000. Upgrade of the old County Road 9 in the same area is expected to cost another $308,000. County Road 9 in that same area was relocated last year at a cost exceeding $4 million.

One option discussed in 2011 included spending $100,000 to simply resurface the old road and add a bike trail. I find it eye-opening that the cost of just adding a bike trail now exceeds a half-million dollars two years later.

A grant of $304,000 in federal funds (Alternative Transportation Enhancement Program) has already been approved, if the expectation of the remaining $216,000 from “other sources” is met. This means asking Green Lake Township to contribute up to $107,000 toward the project, along with a sizeable contribution from Dovre Township treasury. I strongly oppose using township funds to finance a bike trail that will benefit so few, when there is already a beautiful, more-than-adequate state trail a half mile away.

That lake area now has local traffic only. Speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph. Concern has been expressed about the safety of residents with only a two-foot shoulder on the mailbox side. Solution: use rear-opening mailboxes. The public works director said the current road “is fairly wide” and could be narrowed, allowing for a six-foot shoulder. This option would be adequate and makes wiser use of taxpayer dollars.

I enjoy biking and hiking. If we want services from government, we must expect to pay for them. However, why are we taxpayers expected to pay for such an extravagant plan that will enhance the lives/property values of so few? There are other areas in the county more in need of a biking/hiking trail.

There is talk of possibly cutting or delaying some county road projects, raising taxes, or issuing bonds to cover the cost of new situations occurring within the county. This truly is the time for common-sense spending and using our tax dollars in a manner that will do the most good. Please, talk to your commissioners.

Sherrie Grindy