Andover denied grant for new trail amenities

Andover residents will have to continue going to the gym if they want to use fitness equipment outside of their own home.

The city of Andover will not receive a grant to make improvements along a trail, which would have included adding outdoor fitness equipment. Photo courtesy of Landscape Structures Inc.

The city of Andover will not receive a grant to make improvements along a trail, which would have included adding outdoor fitness equipment. Photo courtesy of Landscape Structures Inc.

Todd Haas, assistant director of public works, learned that the city would not be receiving any grant money from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to add five fitness stations with two pieces of equipment at each station, 11 directional signs and two kiosks along a city trail.

This project would have happened along the Tom Anderson Trail, which goes along Hanson Boulevard between Bunker Lake and Crosstown boulevards and cuts east along Coon Creek before heading south along the railroad tracks and then east on the north side of Bunker Lake Boulevard to University Avenue.

Haas said this is one of the most heavily used trails in the community likely because it gets people to Bunker Hills Regional Park.

Any grant money could have only covered the portions of the project in city parks and not any segment along Hanson Boulevard, so Haas had anticipated that any DNR money could have only covered about half of the project. The estimated cost was between $35,000 to $40,000.

The project is not off the city’s radar.

Haas said it could be included in the city’s 2014 budget. The city is in the process of developing the 2013-2017 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which the council in recent years has approved in October.

The city received a letter from the DNR on June 18. According to Audrey Mularie, DNR grants coordinator for the division of parks and trails, the requests totaled more than $3.2 million and there was only $369,713 to distribute.

Mularie told the Anoka County Union that there wasn’t anything wrong with Andover’s application. There were 27 applications and only the city of Monticello received money for land acquisition for athletic facilities. Last year, 10 projects received money from this grant program.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

  • Joe

    I think it is time local governments stop applying for “grants”. If a local community would like fitness equipment in a park let the local residents pay for it. My tax dollars are going to pay for land in Monticello that I will not step foot on. A grant is not free, someone has to pay for it and usually it is a bunch of people that will never use what the grant paid for.

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