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Grants would improve Cannon Valley Trail

Bikers enjoy the Cannon Valley Trail on a warm summer day. Officials want to apply for grants to improve the trail and make it safer.

Officials hope to improve the Cannon Valley Trail using money from an increased state sales tax approved last year by Minnesota voters.

Trail manager Scott Roepke is applying for $60,000 in grants to fix three segments of the trail.

"What we're doing is maintaining what we have," Roepke cold Goodhue County commissioners Tuesday.

One grant would be used to fix a 500-foot section eroding between Welch and Red Wing due to underground springs. Roepke said extra time and money is spent annually to make that area safe for users.

The other two grants would be used for asphalt improvements.

A 4.2-mile section would be seal coated to preserve the asphalt. A 24,000-square-foot section of asphalt in another area would be repaired for safety reasons, Roepke said.

"This sounds like a great idea to me," Commissioner Richard Samuelson said.

The grants require a 25 percent match.

Money collected from trail users for daily and annual wheel passes would cover the $15,000 match amount, Roepke said.

The county also must assure the trail will be maintained for at least 20 years to be eligible for the grant.

"I don't see the trail going anywhere," Commissioner Jim Bryant said.

Grants are being awarded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and funded by the three-eighths of a percent sales tax increase approved last year by voters for outdoors and arts programs.

"We'll keep plugging away at grant money," Roepke said. "It's free money to Goodhue County."