Reclaiming the riverfront | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Reclaiming the riverfront

OUR OPINION: THE RIVER

Posted: March 27, 2011 - 9:16pm

It’s long been a sore point with Brainerd’s outdoor enthusiasts that the riverfront which runs through the very heart of the city has been largely ignored. 

Brainerd High School has a beautiful athletic complex, Kiwanis Park offers recreation for  youngsters and a short trail circles Boom Lake — but that’s about it for those who want to enjoy being near the river that led to Brainerd’s existence.

That neglect may one day change thanks to an idea initiated by the Brainerd Rotary Club. John Forrest, a Brainerd Rotarian, told Brainerd City Council members last week the club would work to help secure and then donate 37 acres of land along the Mississippi River if it raises the funds to do so. The effort would involve the city applying for a DNR grant, which it unanimously agreed to do. If the grant application was successful it would cover about half the money needed for the purchase of the land. The Rotary Club has pledged to work to raise the other half of the necessary funds.

The site of the potential park land, just south of Kiwanis Park and the Pumphouse Hill area, would be the perfect site for a riverfront trail on the Mighty Mississippi. The popularity of the Paul Bunyan Trail provides ample evidence that a riverside trail would be used by runners, kids on bikes, in-line skaters, wheelchair users and walkers of all ages. 

It’s a great idea and credit should go to the council for jumping at the opportunity and Rotary Club member such as Forrest and Rotary Club President Theresa Goble, who also serves as the city’s finance director.

We can hardly wait for a trail that would make the river more accessible to everyone in the Brainerd area.