Trails pointing toward Princeton

Trail expansions are on the horizon in Princeton.

Earlier this year Princeton received a $75,000 grant to expand the Great Northern Trail from Rum River Drive west of Highway 169 south to 313th in Baldwin Township. Awarded under the DNR’s Local Trail Connections Program, the grant (and a $25,000 match) will allow for the paving of 1 mile of trail that will connect Princeton with Elk River along the Great Northern Trail.

The Great Northern Trail is being constructed in the abandoned railroad line that runs from County Road 1 near Meadowvale Elementary School in Elk River up to Milaca.

Princeton’s Park Board is using park dedication fees to fund its $25,000 contribution. The total cost of approximately $100,000 will cover site grading, sub-grade work, engineering work, bituminous paving, three culvert installations, and signage.

While the Great Northern Trail is now a reality, plans are also in the works to expand a trail system from Princeton to the west along Highway 95.

The Rum River Resource and Recreational Board made a presentation to the Princeton City Council on Oct. 3 outlining plans for a trail that will run through Greenbush Township, Princeton Township and the city of Princeton.

The Rum River Resource and Recreational Board, known as the 4R Board, is looking to embark on a year’s worth of fundraising projects that will help raise a portion of the project’s estimated $450,000 cost, according to 4R Board spokesperson Heidi Chiodo. The local portion is estimated at $93,000.

People will be asked to pledge toward the project. The pledges will sunset in one year and no pledges will be collected until grant monies are received, Chiodo said.

The 3.2 mile proposed trail will run along Highway 95 from the Kunkel Wildlife Area west of Princeton to the fairgrounds in Princeton. The distance is almost exactly 5 kilometers, Chiodo said.

“It will run on the shoulder, along the right of way,” she said.

Chiodo said the 4R Board will seek funding from the DNR’s Legacy Fund, as well as some other grant sources. She expects to hear word on the awarding of grants toward the end of next summer and act on the pledges by October 2014. Construction on the trail system is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, Chiodo said.

Both Greenbush and Princeton townships have pledged $7,000 toward the project’s $93,000 match