Ramsey County

Bonding to pay for cross-country trail

Ramsey County has received $1.8 million in state bonding to create a lighted cross-country ski trail with snow-making capabilities at Battle Creek Regional Park in St. Paul and Maplewood.

The $5.3 million project will include power and water lines and new snow-making and grooming equipment, according to Parks and Recreation Director Mark McCabe.

The plan is to build a 2.5-kilometer loop trail that can host high school and other regional events. Battle Creek currently has cross-country ski trails but they depend on snowfall.

“The goal is to create a quality snow experience and host events,” McCabe said. He added that officials haven’t yet settled the project’s timetable.

Shannon Prather

empire township

New cabins to open at Whitetail Woods Park

Dakota County Parks will begin taking reservations next week for its two new cedar-sided prairie cabins, part of the second phase of development at popular Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Empire Township, near Farmington.

The year-round cabins overlook the prairie in the Vermillion River Valley, unlike the three existing cabins situated in the pines. Each has heat and electricity, includes a deck and sleeps six with bunk beds and a sleeper sofa. They’re located near the park’s trails.

The new cabins can be reserved starting at 10 a.m. on Nov. 2 and become available for renting starting Nov. 15. Nightly rental is $90 plus tax and an $8 reservation fee.

The 451-acre Whitetail Woods Park opened in 2014 as the county’s first new regional park in nearly 30 years.

KEVIN DUCHSCHERE

St. Louis Park

City gets donation for park youth pavilion

St. Louis Park has accepted a donation of $310,000 to build an outdoor, open-air shelter for youth programs at Westwood Hills Nature Center.

The donation came from longtime resident Maurice Hobbs in memory of his wife, Barbara, who loved the nature center and hoped to inspire future generations of children to enjoy it as well.

Maurice and Barbara Hobbs enjoyed walking the trails each day at the nature center, which encompasses 160 acres of marsh, woods and restored prairie, according to the city website. The nature center is located south of Westwood Lake and about a half-mile west of St. Louis Park Middle School.

Erin Adler

NORTH METR0

MnDOT begins study of Hwys. 47 and 65

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will hold three virtual open houses for the public this week with the aim of improving travel on University Avenue (Hwy. 47) and Central Avenue (Hwy. 65).

MnDOT is kicking off a study through 2021 to identify problems on both roads, which begin in northeast Minneapolis and run north to Coon Rapids and Blaine. Both are traffic-clogged and have high crash rates, and MnDOT is looking for insight from users.

“The goal … is to understand the needs of all the people who use these roads, whether they walk, roll, bike, use transit or drive,” said MnDOT transportation planner David Elvin.

Meetings will be held at noon Tuesday and at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Attendees may register at University­CentralVision.com or join without advance registration.

TIM HARLOW