St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) today announced legislative approval of a bipartisan plan to complete a multi-use paved trail around White Bear Lake. The $4 million appropriation received approval as part of a larger public construction bill. Governor Dayton now has the option to sign the bill into law. While not the full amount needed to complete the trail, the appropriation is significant.
“This victory was a team effort through the entire process,” said Sen. Wiger. “I want to thank the Lake Links Association advocates for bringing their passion to the Capitol. I want to thank my colleagues, Senators Chamberlain, Dave Senjem, Sandy Pappas, and Karin Housley for adding their names as coauthors to this bill. Children, families, and people of all ages will have better and safer recreational opportunities as a result of legislative action. I’m thrilled and can’t wait to go for a ride.”
Known as the Lake Links Trail, Sen. Wiger chief-authored the plan to complete the design and construction (Senate File 3957). Representative Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) chief-authored its companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Funding for the Lake Links Trail, included in the legislative bonding bill passed late Sunday night, will make possible major progress on the trail and demonstrate to everyone that a complete trail will soon be a reality,” said Steven Wolgamot, Washington County Chair of the Lake Links Association. “Lake Links Association expresses its gratitude to the Legislature for recognizing the importance of safe travel near White Bear Lake for everyone, and, in particular to chief authors Senator Wiger and Representative Fischer. It is amazing what can be accomplished when individual local governments come together in support of common needs. This would not have occurred without the support of all the local cities and Ramsey County.”
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.
The bill language approved by the Legislature reads as follows:
- $2,600,000 of this appropriation is for a grant to Ramsey County to design and construct trail improvements, consistent with the completed preliminary engineering, along South Shore Boulevard between White Bear Avenue and marked Trunk Highway 120 and to pave an existing dirt path within the Ramsey County Beach and Water Park from the entrance to the park at Highway 96 to the northeast edge of the park.
- $1,400,000 of this appropriation is for a grant to the city of Mahtomedi to design and construct and designate elements of the trail and route along or proximate to Birchwood Road, Wildwood Beach Road, and on or in the proximity of Briarwood Road, consistent with the completed preliminary engineering, and final design and specification, subject to approval of the commissioner of transportation with regard to elements of the trail and route that are within or adjacent to the right-of-way of marked Trunk Highway 244.
- The Legislature also approved $22,000 that will be divided between White Bear Lake and White Bear Township. This corrects a technical problem that arose from the trail funding that was approved last session.