Senator Chuck Wiger’s Bipartisan Plan to Complete Lake Links Trail Receives Public Hearing
St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) and dozens of Greater White Bear Lake Area residents dressed in bright yellow shirts provided public testimony at an April 19 Capital Investment Committee hearing about the benefits of a multi-use paved trail around White Bear Lake. The bill was “laid over” for possible inclusion in a final capital investment plan, which is expected to be released soon.
Known as the Lake Links Trail, Sen. Wiger is authoring an $8.8 million appropriation to complete the design and construction (Senate File 3957). Representative Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) is the chief author of companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“The fact that so many Greater White Bear Lake Area residents came out to attend this hearing and show support for the Lake Links Trail warms my heart,” said Sen. Wiger. “It’s a project that will create jobs, help connect our communities, and build new friendships and relationships among the people of Minnesota. I’m especially proud of the strong bipartisan support we’ve received, which increases the likelihood that we will make further progress this year.”
Steve Wolgamot, a Mahtomedi City Council Member and co-chair of the Lake Links Association, impressed the Senate Capital Investment Committee with his passion and preparation. “Safety is our major concern,” said Wolgamot. “A trail is like a bridge. If you don’t build the whole thing, it doesn’t work. We have enormous, wonderful community support for this project.” Lily Ingebrigtsen, a senior at Mahtomedi High School and president of the high school bike club, said young people are eager to safely bike around White Bear Lake. White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson said eight communities have signed on to support the project – a major feat of cooperation. “This trail will be a regional connection,” she said. “It is a quality of life issue.”
Advocates like the Lake Links Association anticipate construction will conclude by the end of 2020, but it will largely depend on how quickly the engineering is completed. An appropriation of $175,000 to create a master plan for the Lake Links Trail was approved by the Legislature in 2000. When completed, it will connect eight communities within two counties and link the Greater White Bear Lake Area to the Gateway and Brown’s Creek state trails.