Open house on Rum River Trail master plan

Anoka County is working on a long-term plan for a Rum River Regional Trail that would run between Anoka and St. Francis.

Although there are no immediate plans to move forward on constructing any more segments along this trail, Anoka County is gathering preliminary comments now from cities and the public.

One step in this process is to hold an open house, which will be held next Tuesday, Aug. 21 at Oak Grove City Hall, 19900 Nightingale St. N.W., from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

John VonDeLinde, director of Anoka County Parks, noted that most of the trail would be along county roads, so there would not be any work done until a county road improvement project comes through. Having a master plan in place enables the county to apply for grants.

The approximately 20-mile Rum River Regional Trail would enable people to bike, run or skate to the Rum River, Mississippi River, Rum River Central and Lake George regional parks, to downtown Anoka, the Rum River Branch Library and Anoka and St. Francis high schools, for example.

In addition, you could keep going on the Mississippi River, Central Anoka County, North Anoka County and Sugar Hills regional trails.

“It’d be a major connector in our greenway public park system,” VonDeLinde told the Anoka County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday morning (Aug. 14) meeting.

The most southern four-mile segment through Anoka is already completed. It starts at Anoka’s Akin Riverside Park, follows the Rum River through downtown Anoka and past the Northstar Rail stop in Anoka. A pedestrian bridge over Bunker Lake Boulevard goes to the Rum River Library where the trail ends.

The plan is for a future trail to follow County Road 7 through the cities of Andover and Ramsey before heading east in Oak Grove on County Road 22 (Viking Boulevard) and then north on County Road 9 (Lake George Boulevard). The trail would enter Lake George Regional Park. There is already a 1.2-mile segment that traverses through this park as well as a section of just over one mile in the Ponds Park in Oak Grove.

The trail follows Lake George Boulevard into St. Francis, cuts west on County Road 24 (Bridge Street) and heads north on County Road 72 (Rum River Boulevard) to the Anoka-Isanti County border.

The path throughout the corridor could be 10-feet wide. There would be a grade separation between the road when the trail is right next to it. At some points there could be a vegetative buffer of trees. These type of issues would be figured out once actual road projects and trail plans move forward at some point in the future.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]