Isanti County approves trail and bikeway plan

Isanti County Parks Director Barry Wendorf and landscape architect Andrea Wedul, from Architectural Resources Inc., requested approval of the Isanti County trail and bikeway master plan during the Isanti County Board meeting June 7.  

The plan was completed over a six-month period with input from partners including the Isanti County Parks Department; the cities of Cambridge, Isanti and Braham; the North 65 Chamber of Commerce; and other organizations throughout the county.

“The plan is intended to promote healthy living, provide a high quality of life for the community, as well as an alternative form of transportation,” Wendorf said.

The master plan proposes a 47-mile paved regional trail system within Isanti County called The Spirit River Regional Trail. The estimated cost is $18.8 million.

“Obviously, this is not going to happen overnight and money doesn’t grow on trees – though it would be really nice if it did,” Wedul said. “The idea is that you can prioritize different pieces of this and build out as you see fit throughout this whole process with a time line of 20 to 30 years.” 

According to Wendorf, the next step will be to apply as a regional designation through the Great Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.

“I will fill out the designation application and then it would be either designated or non-designated,” he said. “If it is in fact designated as a regional trail, that opens the door to legacy funding.”

There are a number of other funding sources available to this type of trail not dependent on regional designation.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer attended the meeting to show her support for the plan.
“The reason I’m here is that I support the adoption of the trail, and I did go to a couple of committee meetings. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the amount of people on this committee,” Palmer said. “I commend Isanti County for Barry. He is wonderful, and he knows every little nook and cranny.”

Following the presentation, the board voted unanimously in favor of adoption of the master plan.

Jobs and Training Services
Barbra Chaffee, CEO of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, presented the annual report.

“2017 marks our 33rd year together as partners in workforce development by supporting job seekers and businesses in Isanti County,” Chaffee said. “I’m excited that we have served nearly 60 businesses.”

There are 16 local workforce development areas in the state of Minnesota. Each one has a workforce board and a governing board. Isanti County Commissioner Mike Warring is the secretary of the Joint Powers Board.

“We have appreciated his leadership. He has done a fantastic job,” Chaffee said. “He barely ever misses a meeting, he consistently supports all of our sector strategies and our special events of the board.”