The following article by Masako Hirsch was published in the August 6, 2012 issue of the Star Tribune:
$1 MILLION GRANT TO BUILD BIKE TRAIL ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER’S EAST BANK
A $1 million federal grant will fund a new off-road bike path that will follow the Mississippi River in Northeast.
The Federal Highway Administration granted the money to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board last week to build the East Bank Trail. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will use the money toward the design and construction of a 0.75-mile off-road bicycle and pedestrian trail from 16th Avenue NE in Above The Falls Regional Park to 8th Avenue NE in Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park. The Park Board also committed to match $500,000 for the project.
The trail will be an extension of existing trails from Nicollet Island to Boom Island, according to project manager Andrew Caddock. It will link Boom Island Park through the former Scherer Bros. site and Sheridan Memorial Park to the BNSF railroad bridge.
The East Bank Trail would fall into plans for RiverFirst, the Park Board’s 20-year project to build neighborhoods and businesses along the northern part of the Mississippi River, as well as the Above The Falls master plan from 2000. Both call for continuous trails along the river.
“It was a great fit for our goals,” Caddock said.
The Park Board plans to have the trail completed by 2015.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced more than $363 million in grants last Thursday to fund highway improvements such as interstate rehabilitation and technology reconstruction across the country. The Federal Highway Administration received over 1,500 requests for the grants from all 50 states. Minnesota was granted over $6.5 million for 11 projects.
The Park Board prepared the grant application last December with Cordelia Pierson, executive director of the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. They collected 13 letters of support from neighborhood groups, the city, county and several non-profit organizations.
Minneapolis Park Board proposed trail: http://www.scribd.com/doc/102165100/Minneapolis-Park-Board-proposed-trail