Greenway to go through Lakeville

Open house Jan. 24

About eighteen miles of Dakota County’s 200-mile regional greenway system is planned to go through the heart of Lakeville.

Options for the greenway corridor’s location and alignment options being considered will be available for review Jan. 24 at an open house from 6-8 p.m. at the Lakeville Water Treatment Facility, 18400 Ipava Ave.

The trail, intended to connect regional parks and points of interest, landmarks and schools, will take decades to complete and is planned to be built in segments as development and funding allows.

Lakeville’s greenway segment is planned from the Minnesota River in Burnsville to Lake Marion in Lakeville and on to Farmington’s Rambling River Park.

Dakota County Senior Planner John Mertens estimated the trail to cost $500,000 per mile to build.

Areas where a bridge or other passway is needed are expected to add $1 million to $1.5 million to project costs, he said.

The county plans to seek grants and funding from a variety of sources including federal transportation funding, the Metropolitan Council and the state’s Legacy Amendment and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

One of the county’s trail options through Lakeville is to follow the existing Canadian Pacific rail tracks that run past Orchard Lake and Kingsley Lake, cross I-35, past 185th Street and into downtown Lakeville, but C.P. Rail officials have not responded to the county’s efforts to contact them, Mertens said.

In recent years, residents have complained C.P. Rail’s use of the tracks in Lakeville for storing train cars created an eyesore.

Dakota County’s plan would turn the tracks into a linear park system, with walkways that connect natural areas.

Mertens said the greenway system will also serve to preserve water quality by including restoration for South Creek, a tributary of the Vermillion River, water quality zones, stormwater infiltration zones and natural habitat preservation areas.

He said the county is planning informative markers along the trails defining areas of historical significance like Antlers Park that opened on the Fourth of July 1910 at Lake Marion and featured a dance pavilion.

Mertens said the county plans to release a draft of its plan this spring when it will hold more open house events.

He expects the Dakota County Board of Commissioners will adopt the plan by early summer then forward it to the Met Council for review, expected by early fall.

  • A Smith

    This trail system will be so awesome! Wonder why CP officials have not responded to the County? Getting rid of these tracks and the eyesore railcars that Progressive Rail stores in Lakeville neighborhoods would be a great thing for this community.

  • Love the water

    Trains tracks need to be kept. It keeps jobs in Lakeville. We don’t need more bike paths at $500k a mile. This money can go towards schools for better Ed & safety. Quit whining about the trains. You don’t like the graffiti, go paint it something else – a picture of your kids

  • TheLip

    Please explain what jobs are kept in Lakeville. I have no skin in this but does everyone who works on the tracks and railcars work for a company based in Lakeville? Do all of worker who work on the track and rail cars live in Lakeville? If so keep the tracks and cars.
    Well thought out answer on “paint it something else” and why the suggestion of ones kids? I am just wondering what business is it of yours if A Smith has kids and why the need to give adivice on what do with those assumed “kids”. What on earth do “kids” have to do with the discussion?

  • Love the water

    Progressive rail in lakeville operates those tracks. Some of these employees reside in lakeville, but all spend money in lakeville. People are always complaining about te graffiti. If they don’t like it, go paint something else on the trains that they see, ie a painting of their kids

    I get tired of people whining about the train tracks that have been here in operation forever.

  • TheLip

    Thanks Love the Water, I did state that if workers live in Lakeville thus spend money in Lakeville than keep the tracks. I would be rather suprised if they did get rid of the tracks and rail cars that those workers would quit spending money in Lakeville but we really don’t know. To much whining about everything is a problem in society in general this day and age. Whining about the people whining about the rail cars is a good example of that. How about a nice water scene or outdoor scene painted on the rail cares, I would rather see that than someone’s kids that I could care less about.

  • Love the water

    Maybe we could paint Matt Little’s face on each rail car

  • TheLip

    If it works for you have at it.

  • Lakeville senior

    Matt little has ruined this city for us. They move our senior center but we struggle to get there. He tells us he is against the hiring of a consultant for the future of lakeville study, but after the election he votes for the hiring of a consultant. Put little on the train and ship him outta here

    • A Smith

      Maybe you should give the man a ‘few hours’ in office before you start blaming him for ‘ruining the city’! That’s just dumb.

  • A Smith

    Love the Water…you make a lot of assumptions. Can you prove that all of Progressive Rail employees spend money in Lakeville? And really, what does that have to do with anything? A greenway/bikepath through Lakeville would also bring people through Lakeville who could potentially spend money here. Furthermore, we can’t paint the railcars…that would be trespassing, and illegal. And, “train tracks that have been here in operation forever”? Lakeville Township was est. in 1858, long before the tracks were here, so who was here first?…since you brought it up. Lastly, this company that you’re defending has had environmental violations fines (in addition to their ‘visual pollution in Lakeville) in MN & WI in 2005, 2008 & 2011. Not only that, but they have just this month been accused of firing their own employees in union busting tactics. Great company you’re defending.

  • Lakeville senior

    Keep the railroad and get rid of the old ugly houses that face the tracks.

  • A Smith

    ok, ok, Lakeville senior…I think you’re having a senior moment. Either that or you’re a railroad employee. The fact is, the houses along the tracks probably don’t have MPCA environmental violations for hazmat that could end up in YOUR drinking water. Progressive Rail/Canadian Pacific….they don’t care one bit about you or your property. Further proof that this company degrades the city….property on the tracks ‘in view of railcars’ was devalued by the Dakota County Assessor’s office for 2011/2012…they probably need to extend that for 2013. A greenway would get rid of all of this pollution and create jobs for those building the greenway…a win-win for everyone!!

  • Lakeville senior

    I don’t work for the railroad or have anything to do with the industry…..Pollution?… These are Empty rail cars sitting on tracks. Sure, they might not be as pretty as your neighbors wife. Who cares if they bring in Union Busters-every business does this. Everybody’s houses devalued during the past couple years at the same rate as those facing a train track. Quit making a mountain out of a mole hill. You are upset with the world because you choose poorly by buying a house next to or near a train track. You are complaining just like the neighborhood that complained about Brunswick Bowl being built or the neighborhood by lakeville south that complained about the football stadium lights on at night and shining into their windows. Poor choices shouldn’t lead to bail-outs or hand-outs and you are looking for both. You car pollutes the drinking water more than a bunch of rail cars sitting on a track

  • Love the water

    Put a fence up or some trees if you don’t like the tracks. Keep the tracks and BRING LIGHT-RAIL TO LAKEVILLE. Choo Choo = jobs

    • A Smith

      building/maintaining greenways = jobs….getting rid of Progressive Rail = getting rid of blight.

  • Chugga Chugga

    Why you always diss’n on the train company? Fix yourself before trying to fix the world. I’m not paying more in property taxes to buy up some stupid tracks to turn around and lay down more asphalt that absorbs heat and contributes to global warming.

    • A Smith

      Chugga chugga…the train company is always dissin’ everyone else. Environmental violations, they degrade property values, they even fire their own employees for making ‘too much money’. Not trying to ‘fix the world’. Just my little corner. It’s our duty to protect what’s ours…it’s the American way baby. chugga chugga.

  • A Smith

    You have lots of opinions, but no facts. This is not just about residents who live on the tracks, it’s about the entire community….nobody likes PR’s junk…even our representatives and the Surface Transportation Board had to get involved. Love the water….you can’t love the water that much if you love a company that pollutes YOUR ground water! Lakeville senior….nice to know you love pollution too! Let’s just let all companies do whatever they want in the name of jobs and profit….what a concept! Got news for you guys…protecting our rights and lively-hoods is our duty….it’s called America. Just watch Progressive Rail for awhile, they have a proven track record…they do not care about YOU, their employees, your property or the environment….AT ALL. Furthermore….it’s never a problem until it’s in your backyard, right?…but WHEN it is, we will hear from you, won’t we? Please don’t ask me for help, I will just laugh.

    • Jan Dobson

      Please provide reliable proof (reports, test results etc.) that Lakeville’s ground water has been polluted by railroad activity.

      • A Smith
        • Jan Dobson

          Thanks for providing the information. It’s interesting, though I saw no mention of ground water contamination.

          • A Smith

            “Allowed spilled materials to go into the stormwater conveyance system, which was connected to infiltration ponds, resulting in spilled materials being discharged directly into the soil.” That’s an excerpt from this article: http://sunthisweek.com/2011/05/19/update-progressive-rail-fined-for-environmental-violations/ Sorry…ends up in the ground water honey.

          • Jan Dobson

            A spill isn’t the same as documented ground water contamination.

          • A Smith

            Oh brother Jan. You have your head in the sand.

          • Love the water

            Lets shoot all the geese. Their droppings are polluting our ground water. Lets abolish automobiles, they are polluting ground water. Lets prohibit fertilizers, they pollute ground water. Lets prohibit road salt, that pollutes ground water

          • A. Smith

            But let’s allow companies like this to continue dumping hazardous chemicals into the storm sewers! You make no sense Love the Water.

      • A Smith

        Here’s one from the WI DOJ
        http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/judgment-progressive-rail-inc-20120518.pdf
        …..but you just keep right on defending them lady.

        • Jan Dobson

          Is a request for proof of your allegations the same as defending Progressive? There is no way of learning the truth of the situation without learning the facts.

          • A Smith

            You have defended them in the past.

          • Jan Dobson

            As I recall, I defended the company’s—any company’s—right to engage in legal business.

          • A Smith

            ‘Legal business’? Since when does a company incur thousands upon thousands of dollars in fines from the MPCA and WI DOJ for ‘legal business’? hahahaha!

  • Research before you buy

    9 million dollars to add more trails when trails already exist. No thank you. Property taxes would go up in order to maintain them

    • A Smith

      I believe they are looking for fed. funds appropriated for such things. Better than stored profane railcars, or freight/light rail traffic. Would much rather be rid of a company that pollutes our ground water, degrades property values and fires employees for making “too much money”.

    • A Smith

      Building/maintaining = jobs

      • Research before you buy

        Tax payer money. We don’t need more trails. You just are pro-union and don’t like their anti-union stance

        • A Smith

          I would love more trails…like I said, better than urban blight. Furthermore, I am not pro- or anti- union. But I don’t like companies who fire employees at will for making too much money in their opinion. What about those employees? They’re tax payers too.

  • Research before you buy

    I am not sure how empty rail cars pollute lakeville groundwater, but all the blue crap the snow plows dump on the streets are not polluting the lakeville water

    • A Smith

      First of all, there is no guarantee that every single one of those stored railcars has been empty for the last three years. Secondly, I wasn’t only talking about the stored railcars, other than the fact that they are urban blight, which is, in effect, ‘visual pollution’ and degrades property values. Proven fact. I was also talking about Progressive Rail’s dumping of environmental hazards in MN & WI in 2005, 2008, 2011. Also, a proven fact. RAILS TO TRAILS EVERYONE!!

      • Commonsense

        A Smith you seem to be the only one who has an issue with Progressive Rail. You are doing a lot of mud slinging and when someone asks for proof, your proof is weak and only legit if you take the information out of context and spin it like it was Fox news. my neighbors kids toys lying around is more of a “visual pollution” that the rail cars that are now stored in the wooded out of sight areas of lakeville.

      • Jan Dobson

        Rails to Trails Conservancy strikes again?

        • Should have done your due diligence

          Conservation is bad?

          • Commonsense

            at $500,000 a mile conservation is bad when it is black asphalt that absorbs the sun and contributes to global warming. We have enough concrete and asphalt already.

          • Should have done your due diligence

            The plan includes benefits for water quality and habitat which is more than I can say for the rail company.

          • Jan Dobson

            Actually, I was just curious as to whether or not the Washington, DC based Rails to Trails Conservancy activist group was behind this big push for what “should” happen in Lakeville, MN. A notion that commercially active enterprise “should” be demonized and then suspended for the sake of some fuzzy-wuzzy indefinable greater good would be disturbing, to say the least. A nationwide campaign to do so would be well beyond disturbing. Like I said. Just curious.

  • A. Smith

    I definitely am NOT the only one that has an issue with this company & their pollution, and my proof is not weak…prove how I’ve taken ANYTHING out of context. And you’re just the same person changing your name with every post. The cars might be stored out of YOUR sight & my sight, but apparently YOU are all you care about. And talk about complaining. You are complaining about toys? hahahaha! I’ve got the City and the County behind me on this one. What do you have? Your whining and your keyboard. What sane person would want junky old railroad tracks & junky old railcars that degrade property values (proven fact), a railroad company that dumps pollution (proven fact), and fires workers for making too much money. Guess what? A greenway/bike path will enhance property values. Then you can move.

  • Love the water

    Glad to see others don’t want to waste taxpayer money on trails that would take us to the same places that CURRENT trails already take us to. Go hug a tree A Smith or pick up some trash since you are so worried about pollution

  • A. Smith

    You make a lot of assumptions. I DO pick up trash, all the time. What have you done? Supported a company that dumps hazardous chemicals, degrades property values, etc? I have news for you, whether the rail corridor ends up to be a trail or light rail or something else….YOUR TAXES WILL GO UP! It’s not an either/or situation. Might as well spend those taxes on something good. Sad news for you.

  • Lakeville Larry

    I have been reading these comments and why are you so sure that this rail corridor will end up as a trail or light rail. No comments, that we have been made aware of have been made by Canadian Pacific regarding the rail line. Although they may be cutting excess labor, rail companies are doing very well financially due to the Dakota oil boom. I don’t see Canadian Pacific selling off this line anytime soon since they have an entity leasing it. However, if Dakota County, and their ignorance and desire to fleece tax payers, wants to pay and arm and a leg for something that isn’t a necessity but only a resume building project for the individuals potentially involved in the project then they may sell and laugh all the way to the bank.

    • A. Smith

      Larry, you are probably correct in all of your assessments above. But I never said I was sure this rail corridor would end up as light rail or a trail. I (and others) want it to be a trail….me, for purely selfish reasons. From what one of our representatives told me in an email is that the Dan Patch light rail bill will probably come up again, and they might not be able to stop it this time, so that is definitely still a possibility. Maybe that will trump anything else, not sure. But I can assure you, THAT will cost wwwaaaayyyy more than a little greenway, so get out your checkbook.

      • Lakeville Larry

        We already have greenways

        • A. Smith

          Apparently the City, the County, myself, and probably a lot of other people don’t agree with you Larry. From what I heard recently, the county has a lot of money to throw at this one. That’s only hearsay, but sounds great to me!

          • Jim Guttmann

            A. Smith, can you elaborate on where you heard that “the county has a lot of money to throw at this one”? Who made that assertion? How much is “a lot” of money? Where might that money be coming from – the county’s budget, or other sources?

  • A. Smith

    Like I said, that info is only hearsay. Someone told me they heard it at a greenway open house. Don’t know if it’s true, how much they have, or from what resources. Sorry I can’t help you there, but I would love the rails to trails option myself.

  • A. Smith

    For what it’s worth, here’s some more info for you from this article: http://sunthisweek.com/2013/01/17/farmington-is-part-of-plan-envisioning-a-trail-friendly-future/
    Per Dakota County Office of Planning. “Trail-based recreation is the number one request we are getting.”…and..”Funding will come from the county and communities, as well as federal transportation grants, Metro Parks Open Space Funds, and Legacy Funds from the sales tax increase passed in 2008. (You’ve probably already paid for it!) And, from Metro Bike Trails Guide:
    “Dakota is one of the least developed of the five counties, and it is — surprisingly enough — the largest. Their growing trail system is still intimate.”

    • Jim Guttmann

      In other words, however much money Dakota County has to “throw at this”, it will be relying on other government entities – the City of Lakeville, the Met Council, the state’s Legacy Fund – to chip in as well. All of these entities are obviously facing intense budgeting pressures with more projects on their wish lists than they can possibly fund. To say that we have “probably already paid for” this particular project is misleading and untrue. I enjoy hiking myself, and I have nothing against this greenway. My point is that it won’t come for free, and there is still a need to weigh budgetary impacts and to prioritize spending among the many projects competing for funds before this trail can go from plan to pavement.

      • A. Smith

        You are probably correct Jim and I am no expert. Just going by what I’ve read and heard. They are still in the exploratory phase and are supposed to draft their master plan Jan-Mar. The master plan is supposed to cover things like cost estimates, feasibility, operations and land protection so we’ll probably get a better idea then.

  • Lakeville senior

    This A. Smith guy is talking out of every hole he has and now is saying all of his facts are hearsay. By chance is the train track coming through your house? Maybe go outside and walk all of the trails in Lakeville. Granted it is -9 degrees so I am staying inside today, but it is time for you to get off of your computer, turn off your Anti Progressive Rail Facebook page, stop kissing up to Matt Little and see the city. While you are out walking please admire our new senior center. It has a cool sign out front showing that we have a boatload of money still to raise. Maybe you could donate some money towards this since you don’t have a problem with the city and county spending your money frivolously.

  • http://sunthisweek.com Laura Adelmann

    Editors note: We welcome debate of topics, but please keep comments civil toward each other. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Thank you. Laura Adelmann Sun Thisweek

  • A. Smith

    Lakeville Senior…please see Editors Note above.
    Just got back from doing some work outside in -9. Not too cold for me. Face it, everyone here is just giving their opinion. The train track is not coming through my house. All of my facts are not hearsay…please see quotation marks above. I have tried to back up my comments with quotes from links to various news sources, etc. and have admitted when I just don’t know. I haven’t seen anything of the sort from you. I’m sorry if I like the idea of a greenway and you don’t and I value a clean environment…visual or otherwise. If you don’t like where Lakeville & Dakota County are headed, and you don’t like the mayor or the senior center, why don’t you just move??

  • Lakeville senior

    Our government spends more than it takes in. Our city has ninety-something million in debt; I can probably assume our county has its share of debt too. Speaking specifically about Lakeville, the idea of ripping up a train track for a trail is a idiotic idea. The track goes nowhere of importance. Sorry, but Northfield is not important to our communities way of life

    • Should have done your due diligence

      If they end up running light rail through here they’ll have to rip up the tracks too. The current tracks cannot support traffic more than 10mph.

  • A. Smith

    http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/194424581.html
    Twin Cities bikers up 50%, walkers 20%! YES to Dakota County Greenway Project, NO to Progressive Rail blight & residential railcar storage, NO to light rail. Estimated cost to build Dan Patch light rail in 2010 dollars? $441 million.

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