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.