Bike Trails as Drivers of Community Economic Development

At the Downtown Forum on Tuesday, April 6, Peggy Prowe and Glenn Switzer of the Mill Towns Trail Board and Joel Walinski of the City of Northfield updated the attendees on the progress of the Mill Towns Trail since summer 2008 and the many improvements that we can expect in 2010.

On deck are the completion of the link between Riverside Park and 5th St., the reconstruction of 4th St. and widening of the bike lanes on the resurfaced street, and the construction of a three mile crushed limestone trail south from the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge along the Cannon River to Dundas. This will create a six-mile loop when joined with the existing three mile segment of the Mill Towns Trail on the west side of the river from Dundas north to Sechler Park.

Peggy was particularly emphatic about the role that bike trails play in the economic health of a community and cited as evidence a chart from Fillmore County showing the growth in lodging tax of communities along the Root River since the beginning of trail development in the area.