According to the May 12th, 2011 Apple Valley City Council meeting video (relevant portion begins at 38:30) agenda item 5G, the city is looking to obtain a $175,000 Livable Communities Demonstration Account grant from the MetCouncil to build a trail between the empty Central Village and Apple Valley Transit Station. According to the MetCouncil, these grants are used to, “link housing, jobs and services help maximize the benefits of regional infrastructure.”
According to Brad Nordquist, Community Development Director, there are rumors that in June some sort of development may occur in the area however nothing has been approved at this time. Being that there is this small possibility for another development to begin going up, the City’s staff has decided that the final touches to the dirt trails which run throughout the drainage ponds in the area are necessary ahead of time in order to link the area to the Apple Valley Transit Station. Sounds like an excellent use of those taxpayer funded grants, right? Well, it would be if it were truly necessary.
If you were to take a look at the area which this grant would cover you will notice a full length sidewalk which runs from the Apple Valley Transit Station all the way along Garret Ave to 153rd St W (the Post Office). In addition to this full length sidewalk, there is another sidewalk on the opposite side of Garret which runs all the way to the scrubby area with dirt trails in question.
Now, while I understand the desire for the city to obtain a tax-funded grant which would add a needed system to our area, this is just not one of them. Being that I was easily able to traverse the ~0.5 miles of dirt trails within the Central Village area to Apple Valley Transit Station via the Garret sidewalk in less than 3 minutes by bike, I just don’t see the need. However, I did have an issue with the trees lining Garret’s sidewalk and the overhang they create as they forced me to lean low over my handlebars in order not to hit my head on their branches. The area proposed by the staff with this $175,000 grant doesn’t cover any of that area so I’m guessing that the City doesn’t feel any change to that is necessary when it’s likely more necessary there than what they actually want to do.
Now, what the City should be doing is asking the developer to install the sidewalks the city desires as part of their green space ordinance. That way the burden is shifted from the taxpayer to the developer and the city still gets its way. If the developer refuses then leave the trails as is and people will use them as they always have. Being that no one is likely to actually walk to/from the Apple Valley Transit Station from that area (they’ll drive just like everyone else does–including the people I see driving from the townhouses directly across the street from the station) there is little need for this now or in the future.
What do you think about Apple Valley’s decision to go after a tax-funded grant of nearly $175,000 to add trails to an area which is currently barren instead of having people utilize preexisting sidewalks? Do you think it should be the developer’s responsibility to add trails within the area they are developing or should the city? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.