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Residents learn more about Gull Lake Trail in Nisswa, Lake Shore

Steve Sundstrom, Lake Shore police chief, talks about the Gull Lake Trail at an open house Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Nisswa Community Center. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Nisswa and Lake Shore continue to work together to complete their combined 4.4-mile portion of the Gull Lake Trail that will one day connect four communities around the lake - East Gull Lake, Fairview Township, Lake Shore and Nisswa.

The paved, multi-use trail will total 21 miles.

Residents had a second opportunity to look at trail plans and provide feedback at an open house Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Nisswa Community Center that Nisswa and Lake Shore jointly hosted. The cities hosted a similar event last August, and they plan to host one more in the spring to educate people and take more comments.

Lake Shore's 4.04 miles of trail - with an estimated cost of $1,138,288 - are nearly complete. The trickiest last 1.3 miles - from Bar Harbor Supper Club, over the Gull Lake Narrows, past Zorbaz on Gull to the Nisswa city line - remains to be done at an estimated cost of $1,319,000 (not including final engineering), and the city is raising funds to seek grants to complete that part.

The completed trail in Lake Shore includes 2.276 miles that is adjacent to, but detached from, County State Aid Highway 77, and 1.77 miles of widened shoulder along CSAH 77.

Nisswa's 3.1 miles of trail - estimated to cost $1,663,000 - will be constructed from the Lake Shore city line on County State Aid Highway 77 north following Lower Roy Lake Road and connecting to Hazelwood Drive to the tunnel that goes under Highway 371 to downtown and the Paul Bunyan Trail.

The two cities are working together in hopes of having a better chance to receive state and federal grants, including state Legacy Amendment funds and Department of Natural Resources grants.

Lake Shore encourages residents to contribute to its Field of Interest Fund.

Fairview Township also is fundraising and has received grants for its portion of the Gull Lake Trail that will link to trails in both East Gull Lake and Lake Shore. The township's nearly 8-mile portion of the trail will cost an estimated $1,717,900.

The township has definite funding in grants and donations totaling $531,000, and is waiting for the Legislature to approve $1,206,913 from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission, which makes grants to outstate Minnesota projects using Legacy funds. Appropriations will be made by May 31, with access to funds in July.

Also, the township will hold a fundraiser in May to fill in the gaps.

None of the communities plans to use taxpayer money to pay for the trails, except for basic maintenance. Instead they are pursuing grant and other funding opportunities.

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