Archived Story

Trail project group seeks state funding

Published 10:56am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In one of the first of what will likely be many steps, members of a committee involved in the Perham-Pelican Rapids multi-use trail will present to a state group Sept. 19.

Otter Tail County Board Commissioner Wayne Johnson, Pelican Rapids City Administrator Don Solga and Perham City Administrator Kelcey Klemm will represent the trail committee at the meeting at 12:45 p.m. in Detroit Lakes. Public Works Director Rick West said no matter what happens with the presentation, there will still be much work to be done.

“It’s a long-term focus and a long-term commitment,” said West, who estimated it may take five years or more for the project to be completed if it receives the necessary funding. “But you never get done if you don’t start.”

The group will be presenting to the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee, which will be taking a bus tour across the state and stopping in Detroit Lakes to hear presentations. West said the trail committee does have a spot on the bus, which could be used for creating connections with people who will play a part in deciding which state projects receive funding. But Johnson said there are several downsides to trying to sway members on the bus, including repeating information in their later presentation.

“That’s a herding-cats exercise in my opinion,” Johnson said.

Perham Economic Development Director Chuck Johnson said the presentation to the Investment Committee was triggered by a state bonding application filed earlier this year. He said he was still working out details for the presentation and there will still be some uncertainty because the project is in the very early stages.

“What I’m assembling right now is sort of a best-guess scenario,” Chuck Johnson said. “But it will be based on best guesses and not tangible stuff.”

West said the trail committee will not know if it will receive funding next year for some time, possibly until the end of the session in April.

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