A $10.5 million federal grant will help pay for construction of two new segments of bicycle and pedestrian paths as part of St. Paul’s Grand Round parkway, the city announced Wednesday.
The money from the Federal Transit Administration’s improvement program will be split between construction along Como Avenue between Hamline and Raymond avenues, and Johnson Parkway between Phalen Boulevard and Burns Street in 2020. Biking and walking trails either don’t exist or are in need of repair on those streets, said project manager Kathleen Anglo.
The southern portion of the 27-mile Grand Round running along the Mississippi River was completed in the early 1990s, she said. About 1½ miles of construction on Wheelock Parkway between Edgerton and Rice streets wrapped up in 2016. City workers will build the remaining segment of Wheelock Parkway this summer.
“We have such great features already and great portions in place, but it’s really helping us build up the entire 27-mile circle route of the city,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said of the federal grant.
The entire project — an effort to connect city residents to parks, businesses and surrounding neighborhoods through a continuous loop of trails and streets — is expected to be finished in 10 to 20 years.
Some of the roadways, trails and paths outlined in the plan now exist but lack a continuous connection, Anglo said. Plans call for lighting, signs and public art.
City planners hope residents use it for recreation and to commute to work, Anglo said.
The city’s first vision for the Grand Round dates to 1872, when landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland presented his idea to protect and link natural landscapes to city planners.
The city gave $27 million from its 8-80 Vitality Fund to the project in 2015. Total project spending could top off near $75 million, according to city documents.
Jessie Bekker is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.