Three Rivers Park District virtually visited the Long Lake City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 5, to discuss potential future routes for the Diamond Lake Regional Trial as part of its 2040 System Plan.
The Diamond Lake Trail stretches for 21 miles and passes through seven cities - including Rogers, Dayton, Corcoran, Long Lake, Orono and Wayzata - and ends at Lake Minnetonka.
“We want to make sure we work in partnership with this trail. We want to work together,” Marge Beard, representative of District One on the Three Rivers Parks Commission, said.
According to Danny McCullough, Three Rivers regional trail systems manager, the goal is to have one preferred route that all cities involved approve. There are currently 165 miles of existing and 58 miles of planned trail in the district; 172 miles are desired trails for the future.
The project was first introduced to cities in 2019. Three Rivers’ timeline for the project includes discussing potential routes with all cities, seeking public engagement from June through September, having city councils approve the preferred route, drafting a master plan in January and February 2021 and then securing the cities’ and the Metropolitan Council’s approvals.
According to Three Rivers landscape architect Stephen Shurson, plans for public engagement will shift from mostly in-person to mostly online.
“We’ve been working to modify our approach to accommodate the situation that is at hand. One thing is for sure, we’ll have a robust online engagement process,” Shurson said.
Three options were presented for the border of Medina. The first was west near the Wolsfeld Woods Scientific and Nature Center; however, the trail would not go through the nature center, but Shurson said Three Rivers is looking into possible connections where visitors could pass through on foot only.
The second option presented was a road-based route coming south down Tamarack Drive, and the third route would travel south down Hunter Drive. The routes would come together down Spring Hill Road to East Long Lake Road.
“Ultimately, we’re looking at one route here. We’re trying to give the public some options so we can collect comments on what they like and don’t like about different routes,” he said.
The area along East Long Lake Road is “attractive” for Three Rivers Parks. Part of the goal is to connect city trails and parks to Diamond Lake Trail, and the upcoming construction to East Long Lake Trail could allow them to do so. The trail would then continue through Orono and into Wayzata.
No action was needed by the Long Lake City Council at this time; however, council members shared their supportive thoughts and concerns with Three Rivers for consideration as the project moves forward.