Lake Wabasso road project moving ahead, but some dispute trail plan


Matt Hudson The existing trail curves to join Lake Owasso County Park with Grand Avenue, just off of Lake Wabasso. A road construction project could extend this trail along the shoreline to Cottage Place.

Road work in a neighborhood off Lake Wabasso will likely include a new paved trail along the shore, though not without pushback from some residents.

On March 4, the Shoreview City Council authorized staff to finalize plans to reconstruct roads and utility lines on Cottage Place, Janice Street and Centre Street. The neighborhood is tucked into the southeast corner of Lake Wabasso, off Soo Street.

Most public comment focused on a proposed pedestrian trail that would connect Cottage Place to the existing trail at Lake Owasso County Park. The trail would be made on city-owned land between homes and the lake, giving residents along that row an actual not-in-my-backyard moment.

“We don’t feel that having this new access way through our property is going to improve things for our property, and it’s going to open it up to more negative things for our neighborhood,” said one resident, Ken Duescher.

Those negative effects, he said, might be more traffic in the quiet neighborhood, particularly at night. Other commenters said they valued the natural space between their property and the lake, which might be interrupted with a trail. 

Shoreview public works staff did offer a second trail option, which connects Cottage Place to the dead end at Janice Street. Pedestrians in that scenario would travel through the neighborhood rather than on a trail behind the homes. 

Other residents argued that connecting the park to Cottage Place just doesn’t add a lot of value to the area’s trail routes.

“I don’t really see a need for this trail,” said Fran Martinson.

City council members said that they saw value in the trail, and that the city has typically tied trail projects to road construction jobs, when possible.

Mayor Sandy Martin said that directing pedestrians onto streets should be avoided when possible for safety.

“Our policy has always been that we prefer off-street walkways rather than on-street,” she said.

The trail would connect the neighborhood to the main trail along North Owasso Boulevard. Council member Sue Denkinger said that it brings the isolated, dead-end street into the fold.

“I do look at it as bridging the end of the neighborhood with Cottage Place,” she said.

 

Construction

The overall project is estimated at $1.5 million, and pending final approval from the council, work will begin this spring. Assessments to property owners will cover around $77,000.

New road surfaces and curbs would come to half of Cottage Place, as well as all of Janice and Centre streets. The Janice Street alley would be resurfaced. 

Construction would also include a new water main beneath Centre Street, reinforced lining of sewer mains and stormwater collection features.

The work also includes the trail option behind the homes, which the council members indicated was the preferred route. They passed the preliminary plans unanimously, and final plans are expected to come before the council on March 18.

As a separate item, the council also approved preliminary plans to bring eight properties along St. Alban Court onto the city’s water service. That project includes extending the water main into the court and reconstructing the street. The total cost is estimated at $240,000.

As with the Wabasso project, final plans are expected at the March 18 city council meeting.

 

–Matt Hudson can be reached at mhudson@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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