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City of Farmington makes plans for trails

Planning for the future is becoming a habit around the city of Farmington.

Over the past two budget cycles, the city has built in capital improvement plans to address road maintenance and the fire department’s vehicle purchases. Now, city council members have given the go-ahead on a CIP to address the city’s extensive trail system and its future maintenance costs.

A CIP sets aside money in the annual budget to address on-going financial needs. The proposed plan Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad brought to a Feb. 10 workshop earmarks $30,000 from the city’s tax levy annually from the 2015 budget through 2035.

The plan also sets up a five-year cycle to address the city’s trail needs. The city’s trail system was divided up, and different sections of the system will be addressed each year. Each year, the city will do work on five to nine miles of trail.

For the most part, Distad said, the funds generated from the CIP will cover the cost of crack sealing and a process called “fog sealing.” It’s the same kind of a process as seal coating, Distad said, but fog sealing is specific to trail maintenance. City engineer Kevin Schorzman suggested fog sealing should be included in any new trail construction, as well.

“That is a fairly new concept,” Schorzman said. “It’s not something that’s been out there for 20 years.”

There are a few years within the 20-year CIP when the city will have to transfer in additional money to address some of the bigger projects, like reconstructing certain sections of trail. The first year for an additional transfer into the trail CIP is 2021, when an additional $30,000 — for a total of $60,000 — would be set aside.

Council members liked the plan. As Farmington’s trails are frequently used during the warmer months, council member Doug Bonar asked whether residents would be notified of areas that will be closed off for the fog sealing process. Distad said residents will be notified the same way they receive notice of seal coating projects.

The proposed CIP will be incorporated into the 2015 budget. This year, $25,000 is allocated to trail maintenance.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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