ROCKVILLE -- The third phase of a trail project in Stearns County is waiting on funding from the state to begin construction.

In his recent bonding bill proposal, Governor Tim Walz recommended $1.37 million be given to the City of Rockville to complete 2.3 miles of the construction of the Rocori Trail.

The total cost for phase three is estimated to be $2.437 million with just over $812,000 coming from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program to be used by 2021, and $366,000 coming from the Rocori Trail Construction Board.

Rockville Mayor and RTCB Vice-Chair Duane Willenbring says, should there be any, the remaining cost would be divided between the cities of Richmond, Cold Spring, and Rockville.

I'm sensing that we'll still have a little bit of our own money that we'll have to put in from the three communities, but that's just the nature of how that works out.

The trail, which currently hooks up to the Glacial Lakes State Trail in Willmar, is being held up as an alternative route between the cities for pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and snowmobilers, and will also be wheelchair accessible.

Willenbring says there are other agencies hoping to connect the trail to the Lake Wobegon, Beaver Island, Central Lakes, and Lake Koronis Trails in the future for a total of over 100 miles of interconnected trails in central Minnesota.

The goal, obviously, will be to someday have the DNR take over, so the signage and all of those types of things that we're doing right now are in concert with the specifications and requirements that the DNR has.

Minnesota’s legislative session ends in May, and if the funding is approved, construction is expected to begin this summer. The RTCB was founded in 2004 and has been working since then to make the trail a reality.

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