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Adoption of trail plan was good decision

After nearly two hours of taking public comment, the McLeod County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a proposed trail plan that has been in the works for over a year.
 
Although many don’t believe it, the trail plan — which outlines possible improvements that can be made over the next 20 years — is not set in stone. It’s a guiding document, not a commitment.
 
Commissioner Sheldon Nies called it a “living document,” and we hope that is just what it will be.
 
Far too often, we have seen councils and boards commission comprehensive plans that are then consigned to a shelf somewhere to gather dust. 
 
Like the county’s water plan, the trails plan should be pulled out and reviewed on a periodical basis, and adjustments made as necessary. It needs to be, as Nies said, a living document.
 
Both City Clerk Kerry Venier and Commissioner Ron Shimanski pointed out that trail improvements don’t happen over night. Venier noted that planned improvements to the Luce Line have roots in decisions that were made back in the 1970s, and finally came to fruition in 2015.
 
Shimanski noted that the adoption of the plan “moves us down the road, but doesn’t accelerate it.”
 
He anticipated that the implementation of any parts of the plan would be a “long and arduous process.”
 
Well, we hope that the process isn’t always long, but it should always be arduous. The decision to spend any public money — state, county, city or township — should always be subject to scrupulous examination.
 
We truly believe that recreational trails, parks and other amenities bring economic development to communities and attract workers.
But we also believe that any investment into such recreational venues need to be weighed with the same scrutiny that is given to other projects to make sure the taxpayers get the biggest bang for their buck.
 
This plan will help accomplish that goal, particularly since its adoption can help the county and its member cities leverage other funding.
 
The county board was wise to adopt the plan. We trust that it will implement it with equal wisdom. 
 
   — L.C.