Upate, Noon: I contacted Northfield City Hall and got a prompt reply from City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller who wrote:
“I’m told our CSO [Community Service Officer] responded to a complaint noting the bike had been located there all winter. About a week ago, he put a sign on requesting the bike to be moved within 48 hours. Today as you well documented the bike was removed and is being held at the police station if/when its owner steps forward to claim it.”
I want the beautiful Red Maple tree, which I planted years ago, to remain where it is. It is a perfect tree. How fortunate I have been to enjoy our Bridge Square for eighty years!
I told her I wanted to take her photo with the tree and asked her for more details on how it happened.
Hi Griff, Believe I am a regular “Johnny Appleseed.” Being a tree-lover, I plant them about town. When my husband Lowell died, I planted an English Columnar Oak in the UCC garden as a memorial. Then, I planted two Red Maple trees along the Central Park sidewalk, followed by a beautiful Red Maple tree on south side of our Middle School (now Weitz Center) which has inspired our schools to do more plantings. To beautify Bridge Square, I decided to plant the very beautiful Red Maple, which is now shining brightly with Christmas lights for all to enjoy.
I took these photos of Helen Albers last night with her Red Maple tree at the start of Winter Walk.
I’m putting on my citizen engagement consultant hat to alert y’all that the Northfield Bridge Square straw poll is ready. It only takes 5 minutes to complete, unless of course, you choose to include comments with it.
At the next open house on December 9th, attendees will have the opportunity to help define a vision for the future of Bridge Square. Those in attendance will also get to voice, write and even draw, their ideas for improvement of this well-loved public space. Please bring your thoughts, concerns and best ideas to share!
Here on LoGro, the headlines for all the recent Bridge Square project blog posts will appear in the upper right sidebar. But like I did when I posted updates on the recently completed Downtown Parking Management Plan, comments are turned off here because the discussion happens there.
Among the many developments with the trail that the DNR staff shared were these, most relevant to Northfield and Dundas:
Acquisition of a 6.5 mile railroad right-of-way is in progress to connect Faribault to Dundas
The current Dundas to Northfield segment needs a complete rebuild, but a new route is bring pursued that would be more scenic and eliminate two railroad crossings
Discussions with Union Pacific Railroad on acquiring right-of-way for the segment from Northfield to Lake Byllesby have not been successful; other possible routes are being explored including a combination of private land acquisition and road right-of-way.
I’m particularly intrigued about #2. If you want to know why, ask. Likewise, if you have questions about what’s happening with the trail in the Faribault and Cannon Falls areas, as staff provided updates on developments with those cities, too.
What’s the big problem facing Northfield?
The City of Northfield currently has no plan to provide a visually significant route for Mill Towns Trail bicyclists to ride through Northfield. Those are my words. I use the phrase ‘visually significant’ because DNR staff was unequivocal: a bike trail that appears to end as it enters a city is a giant disincentive for bikers. Yes, trail bikers like to stop in towns along the trail to eat and shop and sightsee. But without strong in-town trail visuals, people tend to not return. The trail itself as it goes through town needs to be memorable, not just the town.
A good example is the visual impact of the Root River State Trail as it goes through downtown Lanesboro (screenshots above from the DNR’s cool virtual tour of the trail). Lanesboro is much smaller than Northfield, of course, so it’s not a perfect comparison. But the point is, once you’ve ridden through Lanesboro on the trail, you don’t forget it and you want to go back.