NB council pursing trail funding

If the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources deems North Branch’s trail application to be its top candidate, a 3.75-mile trail extension from North Branch and Harris would be constructed.

At the North Branch City Council meeting Monday, the council unanimously voted to pursue $1.2 million in Legacy grant funds, which would be used to lengthen the Sunrise Prairie Trail from North Branch to Harris.

North Branch GIS specialist Nate Sondrol said trailhead improvements would also be made at the North Branch and Harris sections, such as parking lots and shelters.

“This would help close a gap from North Branch to Hinckley that’s part of an overall segment that would connect Duluth to the Twin Cities,” Sondrol said.

He noted that the city is not required to match any portion of the Legacy grant money, but if it choose to do so, the chances that the DNR would select North Branch and Harris for the trail extension would be greater.

Sondrol also explained the two cities would pay for the project up front and then submit for reimbursement from the DNR.

If the project were awarded, North Branch and Harris would also be required to sign a 20-year maintenance agreement for crack sealing and seal coating every five to seven years.

Sondrol said it costs about $3,000 a mile to perform trail maintenance of that sort.

“I think it will help with (attracting) people who want to move into the city,” Councilmember Trent Jensen said.

Other council actions

• The council approved a $500 funding request by Dylan Andrews, who is looking to become an Eagle Scout, for a project he is working on at Harder Park. He is making improvements to the tee boxes at the disk golf course and ran out of money for materials.

“He looks like he put a lot of effort into it and he raised a lot of money on his own,” Jensen said. “He just needs a little bridge to get him the rest of the way.”

• City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad updated the council on city construction projects.

She said a mill and overlay of Flink Avenue will be performed toward the end of this week, depending on weather.

After that, road construction crews will be working on 378th Street.

Konrad said crews hope to have all construction done by mid-November, with the exception of concrete, which will be finished in the spring.

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