Expansion of Perham's bike path to provide safer routes to schoolchildren
Patrick Hollister, Active Living Planner for the Statewide Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), brought forth good news to the Perham's Parks and Recreation Board.
A $10,000 mini-grant will be awarded to Perham in its initiatives to healthy living and improving the quality of life.
There are numerous eligibility requirements for the grant. However, the good news is that Perham has already implemented numerous programs and goals that the grant is within arm's reach.
The grant must be used in a way in which the physical environment is effected or how the city functions. This would include such things as signs for cyclists, designated lanes, or colored pavement.
On the same token, the City of Perham is working with the "Safe Routes to School" program.
"For Perham to maximize its impact, it would help to combine these. Think about this grant as a way to get kids to school besides a car or bus," said Hollister.
"Strategically, it'd be good to combine the program and the grant."
Hollister noted that SHIP is in favor of the priorities and the budget commitments that the Parks Board has set.
"You made a great decision last month committing bike racks to cyclists," he said.
Dave Weisen, Jim Johnson, and Kelcey Klemm - among others - are working diligently to get the green light for the grant. It was noted by board members and SHIP that Perham is not far away from receiving the grant.
"[SHIP] has put a lot of time helping the city out," noted Weisen. "Once we get a bike path established, more and more people will use it."
Hollister noted that bike paths serve multiple functions. First, it encourages more cycling on a particular street. Also, the presence of a dedicated bike lane gives drivers the message that a rider might be there at any time.
City Manager Kelcey Klemm proposed a way of connecting the existing bike path. The proposal was to have the new path run along the north side of Route 51, continue on the north side of Route 34, and extend to the west side of Coney Avenue.
The current intersections are, or will soon be, controlled intersections. By expanding the bike path, the hospital will now have a path, the trailer park will have access to the school, and both will have access to Arvig Park.
Students are not the only ones to benefit from this. Adults, seniors, visitors, and members of the community will have a safer and healthier way to travel.
With the recent International Walk to School Day, Perham is on the road to a healthier and greener city.