Dave Kleis gives community trail tour

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While fall is settling in and the temperatures are slowly starting to drop, construction projects around the state of Minnesota are wrapping up so they can be prepared for the freezing, prolonged Minnesota winter.

In the Granite City, a new walkway behind Rivers Edge Convention Center was finally completed after 10 years of planning and millions of dollars in budgeting. Mayor of St. Cloud, Dave Kleis took community members on a walk Tuesday afternoon to give them a tour of the newly installed path for citizens and St. Cloud State students to utilize.

The trail expands 4.5 miles and takes two hours to walk in entirety, starting behind Rivers Edge Convention Center; going all the way past Coborns Grocery Store and Marco. All of it is on one walking path so community members and students don’t have to worry about moving through any obstructions.

“After two construction seasons, financial challenges and financial concerns, it’s finally done,” Kelis said. “We even have money left in the budget from the project — which we were uncertain of.”

Financial challenges came from concerns due to lack of funding and complaints from a nearby apartment complex which the trail goes through. However, Kleis says that the area it passes through is public and that the city can do whatever it wants with it.

Environmental covers came from the railroad in which the trail has to pass under and the things community members sometimes flush down their toilets that leak into the Mississippi River.

“Because of the Clean Water Act in the 1970’s, the Mississippi River is in a lot better condition than it was before, but people sometimes still flush things they shouldn’t down the toilet, including certain pills like Prozac that can have a damaging effect on the river and people near it, so we are encouraging others not to do that,” Kleis said. He also mentioned the possible expansion of the trail around the St. Cloud Hospital.

Along with the new walkway, Mayor Kleis, being a history buff, wants to put in historic presentations along the trail documenting the growth and expansion of the St. Cloud area, dating all the way back to the 1800’s; showing the past, present and future of the community.