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New trail segment in Hastings completes 10-mile scenic circuit

The new 4,700 foot trail segment includes a steel truss bridge. Photo courtesy of the City of Hastings

The new Greenway Trail segment of the Vermillion River Regional Greenway trail project is open for use. The new section in the city of Hastings completes a full 10-mile "Scenic Circuit" around the city.

Nick Egger, the public works director for the City of Hastings, said that the new segment is another feather in the cap of an already outstanding trail system.

"It's another piece that people can get on and enjoy and get access to a lot of things by heading around that loop," Egger said.

Trail users will be able to pass beneath the East 18th Street bridge and through the Minnesota Veterans Home and Minnesota Department of Transportation truck station properties. The 4,700-foot segment includes a 140-foot long steel truss bridge and traverses the scenic southern rim of the Vermillion River Gorge between CP Adams Park and Vermillion Falls Park. The Scenic Circuit leads users through a variety of sites including multiple city parks, the Vermillion River and waterfall, old mill ruins, a disc golf course, birding areas and nature preserves.

The project began last summer, but it has been in the making since 2011 when the city applied for a federal grant. The total cost of building the new stretch of trail was a little more than $900,000. A federal transportation grant paid for 80 percent of the construction costs with the remaining 20 percent coming from partners at Dakota County.

The construction for the project began in June 2016. Egger said that there were some challenges with the bridge component of the trail that happened near the end of 2016. The depth of the bedrock ended up being different than what some of the sample depths revealed. It took a little more time to rework the design, but Egger said that they are thrilled to finally have the trail segment open.

"It's great to be at this point though and to get that last piece in the 10-mile scenic circuit," Egger said.

The city had several partners who helped make the additional trail segment possible including MnDOT, Veterans Affairs, Dakota County and the Metropolitan Council.

In addition to the newly completed Vermillion River Greenway Trail, the Hastings Trail System connects to Spring Lake Park and will soon offer a trail directly to Prescott.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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