The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 12, 2008

Student plan for trail seen as realistic possibility

Paved path would connect St. Peter, Mankato

MANKATO — It’s been nothing more than a pleasant vision for St. Peter bikers for a few years: a paved bike trail running through the scenic Minnesota River valley to Mankato, where they could connect to the Red Jacket or Sakatah Singing Hills trails.

The concept would probably be agreeable to Mankato bikers, too: being able to get on the existing trail system that spreads throughout the city and ride to Nicollet County’s popular Seven Mile Creek County Park or on to St. Peter.

For the 14 seniors in associate professor James Wilde’s Civil Engineering Design class, it was more than a daydream. It was a yearlong task to methodically and scientifically determine the feasibility of turning the vision into a reality. The job tested much of what they had learned during their years in Minnesota State University’s Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

“I think it’s got real potential,” said Mankato City Engineer Ken Saffert, who expects to see grant applications or requests to the Legislature for funding for the trail. “... I don’t know if it’ll be this coming year, but somewhere down the line — absolutely.”

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