In case you missed my letter to some local papers I’ve posted it here. Some on the Buffalo County Board are pushing for a referendum on the November Ballot asking the voters to weigh in on whether there should be a trail through Buffalo County. Watch for more information.
I want to tell you about the work that some of your fellow citizens have been doing for many years. The project began more than 20 years ago and was supported widely by people and municipalities on both sides of the Mississippi. The idea, the project and the vision was and is.. to connect Buffalo County to the Great River Trail and 3 other Trails that go all the way to Madison. The initial project was a single phase to connect Winona to the Great River Trail. This is when the city of Winona and many generous citizens updated the Old Wagon Bridge to get ready for the trail. Many, many reasons sidelined the project and it wasn’t taken up again for many years when the WDNR advocated for the revival of the project. Then because of the increased costs the project was split into two phases. The County & WNDR & WDOT secured about 3 million in Federal and State funding for phase 1. Buffalo County put zero taxpayer dollars into the project. A small percentage of CapX 2020 funds (that were intended to be used for just such a project) were used. With much effort on the part of many dedicated people ( special thanks to Sonya Hansen) Phase 1 was completed in 2020. I urge everyone to check out the trail and the incredible bridge over the BNSF railroad.It is truly an incredible accomplishment that makes me proud every time I see it. The group, Flyway Trail is responsible for keeping the project alive and raising matching funds.We have committed to Trail maintenance even though the trail legally belongs to the county. We have paid Buffalo County $150,000 for the engineering for Phase 2 from the funds we raised and from the generosity of a Flyway Board member. The County once again, because of the incredible diligence of people like David Schmidt who was employed as an Economic Development advocate for the county secured almost $2 million in Federal grants for phase 2. The Flyway Board stands ready to support phase 2 and complete the 2.8 miles left in this project. Bringing more people to our beautiful area will benefit many businesses and also provide a reason for our citizens to get out and walk or bike and see their county from a different perspective. We won’t stop there! We have plans for Phase 3 and hope that you support our efforts and goals.