Planning for new 13 mile-long trail in Albert Lea

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(ABC 6 News) – Wednesday, members from MnDOT, Albert Lea city officials and community members spent the day mapping out a new proposed trail for the city with a bike ride.

Albert Lea’s “Rails to Trails” project is beginning its planning stage to develop an old railway into a new 13 mile-long trail for the community.

The paved trail will run over most of the old Union Pacific railway in town.

This summer MnDOT awarded the city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County $400,000 to help in planning for the trail.

Related: Rail to trails taking shape in Albert Lea

The goal for the trail is to connect parts of the city to various amenities and provide alternative transportation for the community.

Everyone had the chance to have a say in the new trail Wednesday, and take a ride on its future path.

“It’s really important to have the feedback from the people who live here, to take in their concerns and also to take in what they find most exciting about it,” said Cathy Malakowsky, the Albert Lea director of community engagement and enrichment. “Are they really excited to get to downtown or are they really excited to get to a park?”

The finalized plan for the trail should be done by Feb. 2023, however, the city still has to secure state and federal funding before construction can begin.