BUDGET CONCERNS:Because the proposed trail along Nine Mile Creek will invade "High Quality Wetlands" the Park District has needed to revise original plans for a paved trail. In order to mitigate wetland responsibilities an elevated boardwalk trail built from wood is required anywhere the trail follows the Creek. In many places the boardwalk will be as high as 12 feet, or 6 feet above the highest fence allowed by current city ordinances. Built from wood, the proposed trail will incur far more expense than estimates based on a paved trail and will require further taxpayer dollars to maintain over time. It will also create an immense amount of NOISE as riders use it, possible creating the need for noise barriers near homes and businesses.
Today’s current financial climate seems an inappropriate time
to be spending precious financial resources. The State budget
deficit stands at more than $4.27 billion - much of that affecting our
schools. Both Valley View Middle School and The Edina High School have
called special meetings to discuss with the public the effects that
budget cutbacks will be having on the education of our children. The
construction of a $20 Million Dollar Trail and the ongoing maintenance of an
elevated wood boardwalk trail is not in the “need-to-have” category as we face difficult financial and budgetary
At this time the proposed trail will be officially "closed" between November 15th and March 15th and between the hours of 10 P.M. and 5:00 A.M. Operating costs during the months/hours that the trail is officially "closed" will fall to City of Edina taxpayers.
As quoted in the minutes of The City Council Meeting on January 6, 2009 Mr. Bigalke (Nine Mile Watershed District Administrator) advised that Edina’s trail project would be complex - the trail, no matter the alignment, would cross Highway 62 on a pedestrian bridge to connect to the High School campus, which would be an expensive proposition. Because of this, they are trying to get funding from the Federal Stimulus Package and a Grants.
With many people and businesses in our nation facing financial crisis it seems unreasonable to attempt to receive funds from the Stimulus Package or a Federal Grant for something that is not a necessity. As constituents of The City of Edina it seems outrageous that the Education of our children and funding for the schools that make our community so exceptional would suffer while a $20 Million Dollar Trail is built along Nine Mile Creek that has been clearly acknowledged as being an "expensive proposition". The education of our children and their future should be far more important focus than a bike trail for our community. If there are funds for the building and maintenance of such an extravagance then they should be redirected toward our schools.
Minutes from meetings of The Bike Edina Task Force state the following:
"In order to maximize use of this important transportation investment,
this Plan recommends that the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail be implemented
and maintained as a 24 hour, 365 day per year route. Recommended practices
include lighting over the entire length of the trail and prompt plowing
of snow and ice during the winter months"
At what cost to the City and its constituents over the life of the Path?
Minutes also included the following:
If routed on streets that already exist rather than building a new path along the Creek then plowing expense is already part of the existing budget and the cost of building the new path along the Creek is eliminated - a far less expensive alternative.
The City of Edina is one of the few communities in our current economy that has been able to maintain property values and a strong property tax base. All of that is jeopardized by the placement of the Proposed path in the backyards of our neighborhoods along the Creek.