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Investigation into bike trail

Our colleagues in Burwell and our staff here in Ord have been brainstorming lately: how about reopening the Ord-to-Burwell bike trail conversation with Ord Rotary? What will it take to research the potential, secure land agreements and actually fund a project to connect each community with a hike/bike trail? As our locals will know, this idea has been simmering for many years. Yet a real opportunity exists with the recent announcement of grant funding (listed below) by Nebraska Department of Transportation. This recent announcement has pushed us into active research mode and project feasibility mode. We’re calling it the Loup Valley park-to-park project and we hope the research turns up promising results.

Canoeing the North Loup

Canoeing the North Loup, Burwell to Ord

We feel a project like this, funded in part by local funds and the potential grant is another proven attraction to bring new tourists to the area and also improve the quality of life for local residents. We’re tossing our hat in and we’ll find our direction out shortly.

As for me, a major reason for my interest in a project like this points to a rural community in southeastern Minnesota called Lanesboro. I spent a short time living in southeastern Minnesota and became familiar with a small town quite similar to Ord. Lanesboro is a pretty awesome place, tucked into the Red Root River Valley.

Unlike Ord, however, is that Laneboro has done a much better job leveraging park, trail and outfitter investment into an economic development strategy that has created jobs and investement. They’ve plugged into economic potential of hike/bike/kayak/canoe trails with their reknowned bike and water trails much more effectively than we have (I would see regularly five different states in the parking lot each time I visited).

Lanesboro, Minnesota

Their trail network is extensive, their downtown is vibrant with retail and service businesses, and new blood is constantly injecting new money into the community. They have leveraged how to use hike/bike/kayak to grow it’s local economy and create jobs. I believe, as do our colleagues in Burwell, that we can learn from this model and benefit. We’re shooting for that outcome in the Loup Valley as well. So we’re giving it another try and building off of the good work Rotary established years ago.

Off the water, on the bikeOne last reminder – this is an exploratory committee. It doesn’t guarantee anything, other than help us understand whether or not we can afford ably fund a bike trail to Burwell, jointly. If so then we will investigate the possibility.

IF you are interested in becoming involved, contact Caleb Pollard or David Sawyer at (308) 728-7875 or (308) 346-5210. We’ve listed additional information about the grant below. If you have ideas, send them along!

For More Information:

The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) Transportation Enhancement (TE) Program Select Committee is requesting proposals for projects to build pedestrian/bike trails, develop scenic byways, and restore historic transportation facilities.  The application cycle for Fiscal Year 2012 opens April 1, 2011. Local Public Agencies interested in applying must submit an Intent-to-Apply form by May 20, 2011.  Further information regarding the TE Program and the Intent to Apply Form can be found at www.roads.nebraska.gov/trans-enhance/apply.htm.

A webinar will be held April 19, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. to assist communities with project ideas.  The format will consist of a presentation with information about the TE Program followed by a question and answer session.  If you would like to participate in this webinar, please log on to the following link the morning of April 19:  http://breeze.unl.edu/transfunding/.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank you.

Deana McKinstry
Transportation Enhancement Program Consultant
Project Manager
dmckinstry@sinclairhille.com

 

One Response to “Investigation into bike trail”

  1. Ord Nebraska » Blog Archive » Bike Trail Investigation, Redux. Says:

    […] wanted to pass along an update on the bike trail feasibility effort that we are investigating in partnership with our friends in Burwell. This morning, we will […]

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