Edina residents concerned about a new bike and walking trail that will cut through the city near Nine Mile Creek have been promised they will have a voice in shaping the final trail route.

But that doesn't mean the process will make everyone happy, said Jonathan Vlaming, senior planning manager for Three Rivers Park District.

"Consensus can be very difficult in these sorts of situations," he told the Edina City Council on Tuesday night. "Unfortunately, in this case we have alignments where some folks may be saying 'Not in my back yard' and others will be saying 'Not in my front yard.'

"Ultimately ... it is the Edina City Council that will be the key decision-maker in this process."

The Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail will run more than 17 miles from Hopkins through Edina and Richfield to Bloomington, connecting those suburbs with regional parks and wildlife reserves. Work on trail segments in Hopkins and Richfield begins this year, Vlaming said.

In Edina, the trail has been controversial. It could touch private property and go through wetlands and school grounds.

Residents who oppose the trail have set up websites to rally others to their cause. Their concerns include loss of privacy, damage to wildlife, eroding home values and an increase in crime. Supporters point to a city survey of residents that showed more trails were the top recreational priority.

The park district will hire a firm to prepare an environmental assessment of proposed trail routes. Vlaming said that should be done by the end of summer.

Then a "segment assessment team" will evaluate the possible routes. Vlaming suggested that the team's 21 members include 11 Edina residents -- one for each trail segment. He suggested that the 11 resident members be selected from nominations by people who live in those neighborhoods.

He said the biggest decision lies with the City Council, which will have to grant easements for trail construction.

The assessment team will be selected this summer and will start work after Labor Day.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380