Beaver Lake group brings its hopes for a pedestrian/bike trail to the county board. Cass County Commissioners offer support but also point out the hurdles in the path.
It was the largest audience in board chambers in months as the “Safe Connections” presentation was made. The group was asking for the county’s help “for a long term solution” in building a pedestrian/cycling path along Rock Bluff Road from Highway 75 to the camping area southeast of the Beaver Lake dam. Along with the health benefits, the path would increase safety and provide a place for children to gather for the school bus, said the packet of information.
The Cassgram reports Safe Connections spokesperson Teresa McClatchey said they are ready to explore grants and other funding to help pay for the trail.
The presentation was more for informational purposes at this time so that the county was aware of what the group is hoping to accomplish in county road right-of-way, she said. There was no formal request for right-of-way use and the board took no action.
All five commissioners indicated their willingness to help but cautioned the group there was little in the way of financial assistance the county can provide.
Rock Bluff Road is an “ill-designed road,” said District 5 Commissioner Ron Nolte whose district includes Beaver Lake. He said it turned out that way after the initial developers of Beaver Lake went bankrupt 40 years ago and did not re-construct the road as they had originally agreed to. There are concerns about adequate county right-of-way at some points too, he said.
One thing the county will have to consider is its legal liability with the trail, said Board Chairman Jim Peterson. He said to his point, the state has not yet given immunity to government entities against bike/pedestrian trail claims.
District 4 Commissioner Dave Nielsen is a former representative on the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Board of Directors. He said the NRD is the agency that could help Safe Connections the most at this point.
“We are passionate and committed to moving forward,” said McClatchey.