ST. CLOUD - We'll be able to get much closer to the Mississippi River, once the recently-approved Beaver Island Trail extension is completed.

St. Cloud Park and Rec Director Scott Zlotnik says the designs call for ripping-out the existing stairway and trail on the north side of the River's Edge Convention Center, and installing a grand stairway and plaza area.

Zlotnik says, when it's done, you'll be able to get much closer to the Mississippi River.

The extended Beaver Island Trail will hang over the river as it goes north under the Veterans Bridge and the train bridge, and then will end at 5th Avenue North.

The $6.2 million project is being paid for with half-cent sales tax dollars, federal funds, and Capital from the Convention Center.

Zlotnik says this extension of the Beaver Island Trail is something he's been working on since the city was granted federal funding for the project back in 2006. He says the project has been delayed by permitting challenges with both MnDOT and BNSF Railway.

Construction will begin this spring and should be wrapped-up next summer.The project will have a similar construction timeline as the new parking ramp that's being built next to the convention center along 5th Avenue.

Eventually the extended Beaver Island Trail could be connected to the Lake Wobegon Trail, if that trail gets extended through the St. Cloud metro.