Project in good position on both State House, Governor bond list

Updating members of the Pelican Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce at the Feb. 8 general membership meeting, at the Inn at Dunvilla, was State House Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, right.

Nearly $2 million in state funds could make the Pelican Rapids to Maplewood State Park recreational trail a reality in the near future.

Barring a breakdown in deliberations between Republicans and Democrats during the 2018 legislative session, a $1.97 million bonding request appears to be in a good position for approval.

“We are very pleased to see that this project has been included in the 2018 Public Works Bill for a Better Minnesota,” wrote Rick West, Otter Tail County public works director and highway engineer.

The original Capital Bonding request, submitted in mid-June, 2017, was $6.192 million–which aimed at financing the entire Pelican Rapids to Perham trail. The trail is identified as part of the Regional Trail Master Plan.

At $1.977 million, the proposed project would be “trail construction from Pelican Rapids to the west boundary of Maplewood State Park for a distance of 6.83 miles,” wrote West, in a recent letter to State House Rep. Bud Nornes, R-FergusFalls.

Described as the West segment in the Perham to Pelican Rapids Regional Trail Master Plan, the proposed blacktop passage would attract bicyclists, skaters, hikers and other users to trail that would reach a major regional travel-tourism destination: Maplewood State Park.

At the Feb. 8 Pelican Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce membership meeting, at the Inn at Dunvilla, Nornes indicated that the bonding money has strong potential to be approved –since it is in the Republican bonding requests, as well as the Democratic governor’s list of bonding

“With a state park connected to the trail…there’s no way this can fail,” said Nornes. He also noted the success of the trail connecting Battle Lake to Glendelough State Park. A more affordable, short run of about a mile, the Glendelough connection has been a shining example of trail opportunities when linked to a major state park destination.

Other Otter Tail County projects competing for bonding money, noted Nornes, include:

• New center at Glendelough State Park, near Battle Lake.

• Upgrades at the Otter Tail County recycling center in Fergus Falls.

• Demolition of much of the vacant Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center.

• Re-developing the old Perham high school, which will be vacant after the new school is constructed there.