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Fairview Township: County will contribute funds to trail project

Fairview Township moved one step closer Tuesday, July 18, toward building a recreational trail to connect a trail in East Gull Lake with a trail under construction this year in Lake Shore.

The Cass County Board approved contributing $180,000 toward design and engineering.

Marla Yoho, Fairview Township clerk/treasurer, told the county board that area residents hope eventually to see the East Gull Lake trail connect to the Paul Bunyan Trail via a proposed Pillager area trail on the south end, and to connect on the north with the Paul Bunyan Trail via a future Nisswa trail that would connect to Lake Shore's trail.

Fairview's 7.8-mile long trail would be the center segment of the entire system, she said. Fairview Township has set aside $37,000 toward it.

Commissioners approved spending $60,000 per year for three years from the county's Fund 73 for the Fairview trail and to act as fiscal agent for that trail project. Cass' Fund 73 is interest earned on the proceeds from the sale of former state leased lakeshore lots.

Design, engineering and construction for the Fairview project are expected to cost $1,717,900.

Fairview Township now will seek a state grant from the 3/8 cent sales tax environmental fund to construct the first third of the trail. If successful, the township will seek additional state grant funding on two succeeding years to complete construction.

Yoho said Fairview hopes to stay within the County State Aid Highway 77 road right of way to avoid the cost of purchasing additional right of way for the trail.

This will mean some of the trail through Fairview where there are marshes will run along the edge of the road, Yoho said. Where the ground is more solid, the trail will move farther to the outside of the right of way, she said.