December 30, 2022 at 10:45 a.m.
Lindstrom trying to find best route for Swedish Immigrant trail
Several citizens asked the Lindstrom City Council to take another look and involve other cities on the route like Center City, Chisago and Wyoming.
The Chisago County Board already approved a resolution in support for an “Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant” that the City of Lindstrom wants to apply for. The county agreed to work with the city and supervise the project’s progress and be a conduit for federal funds.
The deadline to apply for the ATIG is end of this month. But when Lindstrom elected officials had the grant application on its agenda this month, local businesspersons and property owners had reservations.
Currently the developed segment of the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail route is on the north side of Highway 8, out of Taylors Falls by way of Shafer. It will likely stay travelling on the north side, through Center City, although city officials are getting routing assistance from a National Park Service recreation consultant, who is on-leave right now.
An already built trail shares the land with the middle school west of Center City, and enters Lindstrom. Existing plans call for it to cross at the light at St Bridget’s Church/Dairy Queen.
The controversy is if the trail should be made part of the downtown sidewalk system to Elm Street, where it could turn south to Newell. It is marked up to share Newell Avenue, just south of the highway, and rejoin a definite (non street) trail further west.
Citizens told the Lindstrom Council the sidewalk right of way sharing is a bad idea. The special transportation grant needs to be spent in 2024 and the public told council this needs alot more scrutiny and planning.
Ed and Deannah Muha said a trail that would take four more feet of their cafe business frontage is a disaster waiting to happen. The Victorian style building is already short on greenspace and the trail cutting into frontage will disturb the curb appeal and make it hazardous for people coming for lunch and breakfast. It is just too tight, said Ed. He added that this concept “blindsided” the businessowners on the highway who thought the trail was on Newell.
Lindstrom Council also heard from the Kaleidoscope Dance Studio owner Laura Peloquin. She opposes running the trail on Elm because it will reduce already limited parking spots.
Council member Linda Merkel felt the trail plan should be fine tuned before the city applies for funding. Merkel motioned to decline to authorize the application but got no second and the motion died. Council member Scott Hildebrand motioned to proceed on submitting an application for the grant, which passed 4-1.