Anoka awards bid for Riverfront Park trail, overlooks of upper Rum River

Anoka will move ahead to connect the city’s walking and biking trails and beautify the riverfront in the heart of the city.

Anoka City Council approved a $1.2 million project to construct a trail bridging the gap from Main Street to the Henry Hammer Trail north of city hall.

“It includes a trail way on the south end right behind city hall starting at the pedestrian underpass and going right behind city hall and all the way up to the Henry Hammer Trail overlook,” said Public Services Director Greg Lee.

Along with the quarter-mile concrete trail, the work will also feature retaining walls, landscaping, river overlooks (one with granite seating) and an elaborate rain garden.

“This project is being funded largely in part by a federal transportation enhancement grant in the amount of $760,000 with the remaining amount being funded by the park capital improvement fund,” Lee said.

The total cost of the project is $1.54 million, which includes design and engineering fees.

There was a large spread in the four bids that came in on the project – as much as 20 percent. Lee said staff met with Custom Builders to make sure the contractor fully understood the details and intricacies with this project.

While Custom Builders does not have a history of doing projects for the city, many of the company’s subcontractors are well known in the area, according to Lee.

The council also approved three extras with the project, with a total cost of $146,000. This will add a third Rum River overlook deck, that will include log benches for the overlook. Those logs will be branded with a historic logging stamp, Lee said. The final add-on is an information kiosk and signage monument located in River Plaza to direct people to area amenities.

Construction started July 15, just after Riverfest. The project will be largely complete before Anoka’s Halloween festivities in October, according to Lee.

“This is going to enhance the whole river walkway area all the way up to the grain and feed (store),” said Councilmember Jeff Weaver.

With the stunning riverfront public access area, marketing of city-owned lots for residential and retail development north of city hall should be ramping up, he said.

There are also extensive plans to develop the Riverfront Park, but funding has not yet been secured, nor have those plans received final approval from the city council.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at
[email protected]