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Why can’t someone besides county pay for trails?

To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Hutchinson City Councilor, Steve Cook, who disputed my letter of March 7.
Hutchinson desperately wants two paved trails to run into its city to meet its Imagine Hutchinson city development plan passed several years ago. It expects the county to just keep paying more and more to meet its plan. The most recent February 2018 county commissioners’ vote to spend $19,050 for an unplanned bridge for Dakota Rail Trail running into Lester Prairie is the latest example. Why can’t someone other than the county pick this cost up? Hutchinson should have plenty of money with its recent hospital windfall.
Take note that Steve Cook does not dispute that McLeod County is abandoning roads over to townships because it can’t afford maintaining them — while repeatedly voting for more trail spending as detailed in my March 7 letter.
Steve challenges my statement that “three county commissioners voted to obligate the county for 20 years of maintenance costs.” I trust the readers of this letter to consider the McLeod County Commissioners meeting packet from August 2016 at this link: https://tinyurl.com/Mc
Leod-8-30-2016. Page 221 is Resolution 16-CB-29 to pave the 18 miles of Dakota Trail from Carver County to Hutchinson. As part of this resolution to apply for Legacy grants, a 20-year commitment was made for maintenance. This was approved by a 3 to 2 vote of commissioners. This is a fact.
Page 218 is the official documented Dakota Trail Maintenance Plan submitted to the commissioners before voting. This misleading maintenance plan claims an annual cost of $452.88 per mile. Twenty years at this cost would be a cost of $9,057 per mile for the 20 years compared to the DNR cost per mile maintenance cost of $100,000 for the 20 years.
How can the accepted 20-year cost per mile go from $9,057 to $100,000 per mile in the span of 18 months? Think this through and decide which side of the paved-trail issue is confusing the public with misinformation and distortions. This is not a good example of the county board doing its due diligence if they don’t consider crack filling and blacktop sealing maintenance costs for paved trails (read P218).
Let’s recognize that not everyone in McLeod County agrees that the only good trail is a paved trail. We already have a paved Luce Line trail and other trail users are ignored. Horse riders, mountain bikers, and ATV users rightfully ask why can’t the Dakota Trail be a regional asset for them to use.
Lastly, no matter what trail surface is selected, why isn’t the Dakota Rail Authority transparent about the moneys it collects, how it spends them and why we aren’t seeing it financially support the Dakota Trail maintenance or development? A little sunshine please.
Jim Bobier
Acoma Township