Ashley Swenson first brought up safety issues along 12th Avenue in Lino Lakes four years ago. She lives within walking distance to a park, but couldn’t really walk there with her three children. For one-tenth of a mile, there was no trail connection and sharing the street with traffic was not really an option.
“For one-tenth of a mile, there was less than a foot of shoulder and there was 45 mile per hour traffic,” says Swenson. “Cars go so fast down this road and it was super dangerous.”
“We can’t be everywhere. We don’t know what all the problems are, but once the seed is planted, we understand what the issue is,” said Rafferty.
But there were hurdles that involved engineering problems like the ditch along the road and utilities. Plus the high price tag for a short trail connector.
“Once it’s on the radar it was clear that it would be $175,000 which is a lot of money for a path this short,” said Rafferty.
Swenson and Mayor Rafferty both give city staff and engineers credit for coming up with a workable plan. The trail connector was recently finished and Ashley and her family presented Rafferty with a big thank you card signed by many neighbors who helped in the process. Rafferty called the card, “fabulous,” and promised to put it on display at city hall.
It wasn’t cheap, but the mayor says it was money well spent.
“The best money we could have spent in a long time here. It’s a tremendous addition to the path and better for the neighborhood,” said Rafferty.
“We love it and we use it all the time,” said Swenson. “We see so many friends and neighbors out on the path now.”
There was also some good news about the price tag. Mayor Rafferty says the project came in under budget at about $150,000.