City of Albert Lea asking for public input on trails in Freeborn County

(ABC 6 News) – Even though it’s winter, work continues on trails in Freeborn County.

Officials and staff from the City of Albert Lea and Freeborn County along with members of the Freeborn County Trail Association, are working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to plan a 13-mile trail along the former Union-Pacific rail corridor from Front Street in Albert Lea, through the city, and along Highway 13 to Hartland.

The city said they have gathered input from more than 50 residents during a series of events that were held on Nov. 2, and now have set the following goals for the trail:

  • Enhance the quality of life in Freeborn County.
  • Strengthen connections throughout the community.
  • Attract more visitors to the area.
  • Improve health and wellness through outdoor activities.

Now, the group wants to hear from the community via a 12-question survey. Take the survey HERE. It’ll be open through mid-January.

“We know from research that trails are important to local residents, with many of them walking or biking on trails almost every day. Our ultimate goal is a scenic and unique trail experience connecting people and places like parks, the city’s historic downtown, schools, businesses and even small towns,” said Cathy Malakowsky, director of community engagement and enrichment for the City of Albert Lea.

The planning group will use the survey results to draft the plan, refine goals for the trail, ensure the trail provides a safe and accessible experience, and set priorities for features along the trail.

The goal is to complete a plan by the end of February for public review and comment. After the city and county adopt the plan, they would seek grants to help fund development of the trail.