Mayor Busse,  

Thank you for pointing out that some people may be misleading Bloomington residents that the City of Bloomington will be paying for the paving of a bike trail along the Minnesota River Valley in Bloomington. The paved trail project funding (if approved, that is) will be funded by the State through issuance of bonds.  For more clarity: State bond money and the annual DNR maintenance budget ultimately are paid by taxpayers, including the residents of Bloomington. Save the River Bottoms (STRB) has a great deal of credible information posted on the website and FaceBook page. Our information comes from sources such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, freedom of information act requests, news articles, and other fact checked organizations. We at STRB strive to inform citizens and government officials with factual data they can use to make informed decisions about the future of the Minnesota River Valley in Bloomington. Below are some facts / information for those that are interested: The Minnesota River Valley (MNRV)  in Bloomington has gone over flood stage twice in 2020 already. In 2019 the MNRV in Bloomington was under flood water for over three months. Paved trails in water ways, wetlands, and flood plains are continually damaged by flooding and freeze thaw cycles. The condition of the paved trail from Bloomington Ferry to Highway 101 is a great example. 
At previous meetings the public was told that the 13 mile stretch from the Cedar Bridge to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge was fully funded with 2.18 million dollars.   The DNR has started Phase 1 of the paving on Bloomington-owned land from Lyndale Avenue for roughly 2 miles towards the Cedar Avenue Bridge at a cost of 2.8 million dollars, paid for by the taxpayers of Minnesota (Bloomington).
The DNR has started Phase 1 of the paving on Bloomington-owned land from Lyndale Avenue for roughly 2 miles towards the Cedar Avenue Bridge at a cost of 2.8 million dollars. There is no current funding for the remaining paved trail in Bloomington. Additional funding would need to be approved at the State Capitol by lawmakers.
The City of Bloomington has not required a “FULL PLAN” with cost estimates from the DNR for this project.  Over half of the 13 miles of proposed trail lie within Bloomington City Limits, including a bridge over Nine Mile Creek that the DNR estimates will cost over $1 million dollars.   The City of Bloomington has resisted requests for a user study that would provide information of number of users and why they choose to recreate in the current MN River Valley Area. The Minnesota DNR has a well-documented maintenance deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars that includes well over 100 miles of current paved trails throughout Minnesota that are seriously in need of repair.  The DNR does not have the money to make those repairs, and is unlikely to get it from the Legislature. 
The MN River Valley State Trail enabling statute did not require a paved trail surface until it was added into an unrelated bill in 2015 by a legislator from Bloomington.  This amendment could not have happened without support from the Mayor and City Council.

 City of Bloomington has had an active role in lobbying for funding of trail paving projects and has worked to acquire funding from other transportation related sources. On and on……. The one question that Mayor Busse should be asked regarding his statement of the funding source for the paved trail is: Considering the DNR has a well-know budget deficit for maintenance funds, will the City act to guarantee that the City of Bloomington will NOT be responsible for any maintenance or funding of maintenance for the paved trail by insisting that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources enter into an agreement to maintain the trail and pay 100% of those maintenance costs? 
Save The River Bottoms

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