Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - After more than an hour of discussion, the Duluth City Council has decided to move forward with an application to secure funding for a major part of the Lakewalk.
The application deadline for thousands of dollars of state grants for the Lakewalk extension is this Friday and without action Monday, the council risked the opportunity for key funding for the project.
In a 7 to 1 vote, the council approved moving forward with an application to request more than $185,447 for the construction of a trail along Water Street between 20th Ave East and 25th Avenue East, a stretch linking the two disconnected parts of the Lakewalk.
The proposed plan will cost approximately $312,000.
Councilors and concerned neighbors say the safety of the area is the priority for completing the project that has been more than 7 years in the works.
"Expanding along water street vastly improves safety, which is a real concern for me as a consumer down there on the Lakewalk, also as a parent of kids who use the Lakewalk and some of the traffic that is there," said councilor Emily Larson.
"This is a very personal issue for me. It is dangerous down there, I think we need to put past problems of politics aside and look at the safety of our citizens and start working on a solution to this safety problem," said concerned neighbor.
Monday's approval by the council is just the first piece of the puzzle, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will now evaluate the project and hand down a decision by the end of this year or beginning of 2015.
If the grant is approved by MnDOT, construction will start in 2017.
Councilors plan to hold public meetings for neighbors and Lakewalk users to provide input on the planning process.