The Hutchinson City Council Tuesday night approved entering into an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and appropriating funds for improvements to the Luce Line Trail from the Carver County line east of Winsted to County Road 115 on the west side of Hutchinson.
Total cost would be about $3.5-million.
With the approval, Mayor Steve Cook says it will elevate theproject on the DNR’s priority list.
Improvements include making it a multi-use trail by paving thetrail, adding a parallel trail for horse riding, and including crossings for field equipment.
Hutchinson would contribute $750,000, which would come from the $2-million the city will receive from Hutchinson Area Health Care for health, wellness, and recreational purposes.
McLeod County has dedicated $500,000, the DNR would add $500,00 from their Legacy allocation, the City of Winsted is looking at contributing $100,000, and Silver Lake is in the process of possibly contributing.
Mayor Cook and the City Council say the improvements are a long time coming and see it as a wellness opportunity for the community, as well as visitors. They say it will also add an economic boost with more bicyclists and snowmobilers using the trail and spending money in Hutchinson.
However, about a dozen citizens and business owners where at the meeting and most were not in favor of funding improvements to the trail. Many said snowmobilers would not ride on a paved trail and others said improvements would not guarantee that people would come and use the trail from other areas.
In the end, the council approved the motion unanimously.
If everything goes as hoped, the improvements would begin next year with grading. Paving would be done in 2014.