Dakota County’s physical development committee at its March 14 meeting approved plans for the last segment of the Mississippi Regional Trail, which will cover a two-mile stretch of Rosemount.
The 27-mile Mississippi Regional Trail will connect Hastings to St. Paul. The last piece will join an existing trail segment called MRRT West to Spring Lake Park Reserve.
The committee also rescinded a previous resolution, made in August 2015, which outlined a different layout. That plan was rejected because the county failed to reach an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to traverse some land it owns.
Commissioner Tom Egan noted that the completion of this trail segment had been discussed by the County Board so many times that he felt like he knew “every square inch” of the area.
An engineering and design firm studied nine possible options for the new trail alignment and then narrowed those options down to two. The committee chose the second one, dubbed the brown option, at the March 14 meeting.
The new trail will cost $12 million to $13 million, require right of way acquisition from seven properties, and involve the construction of two overpasses over railroad tracks. It may also save $1 million to $2 million in the long run because it could connect to the Rosemount Greenway in the future, according to Dakota County officials.
The brown option was the costlier of the two, but board members worried about issues with property owners along the trail if they chose the other option, which would have cost $8 million to $11 million.
Commissioner Mike Slavik said that it felt “like we could build a road” for the amount of money being spent on the trail. Slavik urged county officials to begin negotiations with landowners as soon as possible instead of waiting until summer.
Both options take advantage of $1.4 million in federal funding, county officials said.
The physical development committee approved the new alignment with a 6 to 1 vote. Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg was the only “no” vote.
The county will finalize plans for the trail in March 2018, seek bids in November or December of 2018 and award a contract for the project in January 2019.
Final action will take place at a future County Board meeting.
Art park calls for entries for new exhibition
Caponi Art Park, the 60-acre Eagan park that encompasses a learning center, sculpture garden and amphitheater, is calling for entries for a new art exhibition. The show, called “Reflected Light,” celebrates the influence of Anthony Caponi, the park’s founder.
This is the park’s 25th anniversary, and artists who are at least 8 years old are invited to submit works that reflect Caponi’s legacy. Submissions are due March 31 and the show will open May 5, 2017. For more information, go to www.caponiartpark.org.
Anthony Caponi was a sculptor and Macalester College art professor who was devoted to “organically integrating art, life and nature” into the park, according to its website. The park also hosts a summer performance series, guided tours, workshops and an annual medieval fair.
Volunteers needed for annual park clean up
The city of Farmington is seeking volunteers to clean up winter’s leftovers — garbage left in its parks and natural areas — on April 29.
This will be the 16th annual Pond and Park Cleanup Day. More than 400 people collected over a ton of trash in 2016.
Farmington has 913 acres of parkland, open space, and natural areas along with 48 miles of paved trails, nature trails, and boardwalks, according to the city documents.
Contact Jen Dullum at 651-280-6845 before April 20 to volunteer.
Curling classes now offered in Burnsville
The Burnsville Ice Center now offers curling classes and open curling time in response to the sport’s growing popularity.
The “Learn to Curl” one-time class is offered for $20 on Sundays this spring from March 26 through May 14, while open curling is offered from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on various dates for $10. A schedule can be found on the activities calendar at www.burnsvilleicecenter.org. Both options are offered to ages 12 and above, and teens who are 15 or younger require accompaniment by a paid adult.
Dakota Curling, a Lakeville curling facility, opened in January, further demonstrating the sport’s popularity in the area.
A new curling instructional league is also starting this spring, but the sign-up deadline has passed.
For more information about curling programs, call Dean Mulso at 952-895-4653 or visit www.burnsvilleicecenter.org/curling.