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Viewpoint: Bonding provides $19M for community improvements

Marshall Hallock

Marshall Hallock is the administrative business director for the city of Red Wing

Red Wing City Council strives to ensure the state continues to make our community and surrounding region a priority when it provides capital funding for local improvement projects. Recently, those efforts paid off.

On May 30, 2017, the governor signed the state's 2017 bonding bill into law, which included critical funding for Red Wing. The bonding bill contained $14,762,000 in funding for the proposed Sturgeon Lake Road Rail Grade Separation project and an additional $4,400,000 for the Red Wing River Town Renaissance.

The proposed Sturgeon Lake Road Rail project was one of three high priority rail crossing improvement projects that the Minnesota Department of Transportation identified based on safety concerns including high rail and traffic volumes. The proposed improvements include a rail overpass, the realignment of Sturgeon Lake Road, new roadway connections and enhanced stormwater management. The proposed project will significantly improve safety, access and traffic flows.

The Red Wing River Renaissance is a multi-phased project that incorporates the renovation, renewal, and construction of improvements along the riverfront and in our historic downtown. In 2014, the state bonding bill provided $1,580,000 for the initial phase of the project. Reconstruction of Levee Road, the Riverfront Trail from Bay Point Park to Levee Park, a portion of the Vogel Harbor wall and parking facilities were completed utilizing this funding. This was an excellent beginning. The city, partners and local legislators have continued to collaborate and pursue additional state funding to move the project forward.

The additional funding received in this round will support the Levee Park dockage and promenade improvements, completion of the Vogel Harbor wall and the Sheldon Theatre's renovation and renewal.

The state funding received for these projects represents a major success for our community and our region. We are grateful for the support we have received for these projects from our partners, local legislators, and others; but our work is not over. Red Wing is an important center of commerce for our region, and we will continue to wholeheartedly represent the interests of our citizens at the state Capitol to ensure our community's continued success and prosperity.